“Just take a few photos” they said..
It doesn’t matter what I write here, nothing will capture the emotion and unadulterated bromance that unfolded that day…
I was approached by a friend of mine in July who planned to cycle with two others, over 120 miles, from Cambridge to Brighton as he wanted the journey documenting. All of this was to raise money for charity for NASS, a charity who give aid and advice to sufferers of Ankylosing Spondylitis. After a couple of brief pub-based discussions, the plan was to agree a route and drive along the most of it, stopping at regular intervals and major landmarks to capture those milestones. Pretty simple really!
We assembled at 6am on King’s Parade, the start line, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather – crystal clear skies, dry, no wind and a slight chill in the air – perfect for cycling. As we left, a real rush of excitement grew as the team of three cyclists, my navigator and I left the leaving party behind us and powered into the beautiful English countryside.
The first leg went by far too quickly and before we knew it, we were at Bishops Stortford at a planned stop, deciding on our route through the centre of London. In retrospect, we should have avoided central London, it was next to impossible for the cyclists to meet up with the crew in Stratford and negotiating the traffic was taking it’s toll physically, and on the clock!
We did make it out, eventually, and began making our way south, over the M25, past Crawley and just as the cyclists were running out of energy, to the South Downs. Because of our slow progress through London, we were behind schedule and running out of daylight. It turns out that no one had planned for the possibility of riding in the dark, and between them, the guys only had one set of lights and one high-vis between them.
The navigator and the photographer, now turned Support Crew and had to ensure they could see and be seen. Brighton was on the horizon, but determined to finish what we started, we drove behind the convoy of bikes on a 3 lane carriageway, hazards on, slowing all of the night-time traffic to and make our way into the city. Adrenaline carried everyone over the line to finish the EPIC 13 hour journey.
Special thanks to my navigator, Simon Black, who kept me sane throughout. And finally, a huge well done to the cyclists (Daniel Harland, Matthew Skidmore and Henri Salonen) who eventually raised over £1500 for NASS. Awesome.