Debden cycle organisers lead by example with 477 mile four country bike ride

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:59 18 August 2017

Brian and Hannah Lindsell who cycled through four countries in eight days last month

Brian and Hannah Lindsell who cycled through four countries in eight days last month


A father and daughter from Debden cycled 477 miles, travelling through four countries in eight days as a “limber up” for an annual charity bike.

Scenes from the Debden Bike RideScenes from the Debden Bike Ride

Brian Lindsell, 47, and his daughter, Hannah, 17, a pupil at Saffron Walden County High wanted to show, in their words: “that it is possible for ordinary folk to tackle seemingly daunting challenges”.

Brian is the main organiser for The Debdencycle 35/50 mile ride, know as the Three Counties Ride, going through Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, raising money for injured soldiers, including those working in bomb disposal.

This year’s ride, the fifth, is on Sunday, September 3, raising money for The Felix Fund. This is not a sponsored race, Brian says he understands how people hate asking others for money - the money is raised through the entry fees, which all go to the charity. In four years, £5,500 has been raised with more people taking part each year. The first year, there were 12 people, that grew to 90 the second year, 180, the year after that and last year 150. Entry is £15 in advance or £20 on the day and people can ride 35 or 50 miles in a circular route starting and ending at Carver Barracks where the Army’s national Bomb Disposal and Royal Engineers Regiments are based.

Brian said: “I hope our European trek will encourage people to take part.”

Scenes from the Debden Bike RideScenes from the Debden Bike Ride

With no back up vehicle and all of their camping gear and clothes strapped to their bikes, on July 22, Brian and Hannah set off from home to ride through London to Newhaven on the south coast to catch a ferry to Dieppe. Following days saw them travel across country from Dieppe to Dunkirk, up through Belgium and across Holland to Rotterdam.

After a further ferry trip to Harwich, they wearily made their way home. Having been rained on for seven days out of eight, suffered a raft of mechanical issues and a head wind with the accompanying rough crossing back to the UK they made it home.

Brian, a father of four, said: “We always knew it was going to be tough and it was but what a sense of achievement. We had a terrific time, met some amazing people and we will always have the memories and that’s what the ride was about. I’d like other people to have those same feelings when they take on The Debdencycle, it’s our local community’s way to support the soldiers at Carver Barracks. Everything we do supports The Felix Fund.

“My family and I live in Debden, just a mile or so away from Carver Barracks, I’ve lived in the parish for over 40 years and grew up with “Barracks kids” as have my children. I’ve never been in the forces and neither have any of our immediate family but we see the cycle ride as our chance to say “Thank you”. During those five years I have tried to reach out to as many people as possible via a dedicated website, Facebook page and even videos on YouTube.”

The cycle ride meets up from 8am at Carver Barracks (postcode CB10 2YA) using the airfield entrance where parking is available on the runway. Toilets, teas and coffees are available at the start/finish.

Both rides start at 10.30am, winding through country lanes from Debden. Both routes pass through Newport to Arkesden and then split at Duddenhoe End. The 50 mile route goes out past Elmdon and back via Shaftenhoe End where they meet up again with the 35 mile route shortly before the lunch stop at The Woodman Nuthampstead.

The return leg sees all riders staying together through the Hormeads, then splitting again in Furneux Pelham with the 50 mile route swinging a wider southerly arc down to Hazel end and then back up through Rickling. The riders come together again in Wendens Ambo for the return to Carver Barracks.


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