[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][text_output]Friday, June 19th
3pm: There was a different vibe in the office (not only due to people flouncing around in cycling outfits for the last two hours). It was time for the departure: cycling from London to Paris in 24 hours to support Open Arms Malawi, a charity organisation in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Half way to Portsmouth we got the heartbreaking news that one of our proud cyclists got injured and had to give up, whilst another one had left his passport at work.
9:55pm: the first group arrived at the port and we decided to take out our British and French flags- for the first time in my life (I’m a proud Italian) I was waving another nations flag. After waiting a couple of minutes we decided to have a quick look on one of the cyclists GPS to see how far away they were as the time started running out (we had to be checked in at the ferry by 10:30pm).
What we saw was not a line towards the port, but a strange circular route:
This is when we saw the first crack in the perfectly designed 24-hour plan! Not to mention the passport that should have been delivered by a courier hadn’t yet shown up!
10:25pm: Still no sign of the lost group or the passport. This is where the madness started. Moving the lost cyclists to another ferry, then getting their passports and bags out of the car was chaos. Looking at the scenario at the port felt like being in a movie: People running criss-cross around the port with bags and passports without really knowing what to do.
Then, at 10:33pm two calls: The lost cyclist group saying, “We are here” and the courier with the passport. It all worked out… to everyone’s surprise! Quick plate of pasta (cyclist’s food) and off to sleep.
Second day kicks off:
6am from the port of Caen!
Everyone in the support team who decided to help out on this trip thought deep inside of getting some sun and a nice croissant while waiting for the cyclists at the several stops. The reality was a bit different: No time for coffee breaks, sunbathing or toilet breaks, instead we were running into supermarkets in order to be in time to feed the very hungry and dehydrated cyclists at the stops.
After 23 hours and 40 minutes the first group arrived at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris (before the support cars by the way).
Here is what the cyclists had to say, without sounding too cheesy (which after this experience is quite hard):-
“Amongst my proudest moments at Croud, incredible effort. Don’t mention Portsmouth housing estates.” – Sorry, couldn’t do that.
“An absolutely incredible 24 hours, proud to be part of such an amazing team and such a unique experience. Anything is possible…”
“So cheesy, but as a supporter it was so brilliant to see everyone working together as a team, pushing each other through the hard bits and encouraging each other along the way. Team work to be proud of.”
“That was such an amazingly crazy thing to do – and I am proud to be part of this. Big shout-out to a true legend in the making: Edmund Jewell. Without him I would have never made it to Paris!”
Summarising the trip, it was not only a good thing in order to hopefully encourage other companies and individuals to take their first steps in supporting organisations like Open Arms Malawi, which makes me incredibly proud, but also an incredible experience in getting us even closer together as a team.
In case you are interested in organising a similar kind of trip, please bear in mind the following:-
- Don’t forget your passport (quite obvious you would think, but apparently not.)
- Don’t be arrogant and accept help if you get lost (not naming the cyclist who refused to get picked up from the housing estate when he got lost.)
- Don’t underestimate the European summer: bring sun cream! The whole office is now wandering around in a strange builder/lobster colour.
- Don’t underestimate the speed of the cyclists: The support team had a hard time in catching up.
- It’s not a good idea as a ‘Crew’ member to moan about being tired at the cyclists (they won’t understand for some strange reason.)
One day after the cycle, you would think that the word ‘bike’ would be shunned for quite a while… but there it was… the email from our Finance Director:
“Next year, London to Berlin in 48 hours, who is in?” – So, feel free to get in touch if you are interested in joining!
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