charity cycle ride

Etape Caledonia

24th June 2007, starting and finishing at Pitlochry in Scotland.

This should be a hard one, 134 km / 83 miles with a total ascent of 2,078m / 6,817ft while maintaining an average speed of over 12mph. The event will provide a true test for experienced cyclists and those who enjoy a new challenge. It will also prove an attraction to those not currently cycling to get on their bike and rise to the newest fitness challenge in the UK.

The Ride and Results

Grant Crawley cycling in the 2007 Etape Caledonia

Considering it’s the wettest June in recorded history, I think we were pretty lucky that it rained for only the first 40 miles. The scenery was spectacular, closed roads were an absolute dream to ride on and heartfelt thanks must go to all the local residents of Pitlochry for allowing the event to go ahead. The originally stated distances were a bit off when compared to my GPS tracking device, which recorded 81.32 miles and 6,400ft of climbing, but I maintained an average speed of 15.7mph and finished the event in 5 hours 10 minutes and 13 seconds.

The winning time was 3:48:15, and the last place time was 7:28:24. My position was 633, out of 868 finishers, which considering I finished a cycle of immunoglobulin treatment 16 days before the start wasn’t too bad. Next time I hope to do much better, I was disappointed at not breaking five hours so I now have a target to beat.

Etape Caledonia finisher's medal
Finisher’s medal

Action 100 (2006)

27th August 2006, starting at Bristol (Temple Meads), via Chobham Rugby Club and finishing at London (Euston).

This is the first time I have ridden the Action 100, which despite being labelled as Bristol to London, doesn’t officially finish in London. So being the stubborn perfectionist that I am, I decided to extend the official route onwards to Euston station. Which, by the time I had diverted around the Notting Hill Carnaval, turned out to be 143.6 miles and caused me to nearly miss my train home, which left 30 seconds after I got on board.

The total online amount I raised for Action Medical Research for this ride is £245 (excluding gift aid), which is fantastic and sincere thanks go to everyone who sponsored me.

My online sponsorship account for this event is now closed.

London to Paris (2005)

This was my first charity bike ride, 300 miles in 4 days arriving in Paris in time to see Lance Armstrong win his 7th and final Tour de France. I did the ride for Action Medical Research, after my mother’s partner found their advert in the Sunday paper and raised ¬£2,739 to help them fund more research programmes.

Day 1 – London to Dover

The day started quite cool, setting off from Blackheath, and riding southeast out of London. The route took us to Rochester, across the river Medway and then down narrow country lanes all the way to Dover. After the initial coolness in the morning, the weather warmed up, and the day turned out to be a scorcher. Not necessarily the best thing for a long-distance cyclist, but welcome nonetheless. Some of us, me included, missed a turning and ended up doing about 30 miles extra.

Day 2 – Calais to Abbeville

After getting the ferry across the channel, we set off for Abbeville. Today was another hot one, and the tarmac actually felt to be sticky, making the going very tough indeed in some places.

Day 3 – Abbeville to Beauvais

Pretty much the same as the ride from Calais, but a little cooler.

Riding through northern France

Day 4 – Beauvais to Paris

From Beauvais we cycle to the lunch rendez-vous, from there we cycled into Paris in groups of around 20-30 cyclists, working on the principle of safety in numbers. There was some question whether it would be possible to cycle round the Arc de Triomphe, as it happed we needn’t have worried. It’s certainly an experience I will never forget, riding round the Arc and then down the Champs-√Člys√©es. I attempted to video this last bit, but the cobbles made the video extremely shaky so it’s not the easiest video to watch.

At the base of the Eiffel Tower for photos.