Ickleton cyclists raise thousands with ride to Paris ... which ended in a police chase
- Credit: Archant
Most people celebrate their 40th birthday. Chris Collinson, landlord of The Ickleton Lion, bicycled to Paris with 18 friends, got chased by armed police at the Arc de Triomphe and celebrated with champagne in the Champs Elysees.
The 19 cyclists set off on a four-day trip on September 9 starting from The Lion pedaling over 300 miles and raising several thousand for good causes. The money is still being counted.
Chris, the birthday person who organized the event and raised £800, said they all enjoyed it so much it could become an annual trip.
He said: “It all went very well, some of us did more than 300 miles because we got lost. I got lost at Barkway, just past Royston. We were supposed to meet at Knebworth, that was our first official stop. I’d never been to Knebworth and I’ve still never been there. Some of us us did an extra 30 or 40 miles on the first day but we got all got back together again in time for the ferry.”
Chris said the hardest day was the third. “That was the longest day of the trip because we were cycling into a headwind from Le Harve to Vernon. It was very hot and very windy and there weren’t a lot of cafes along the way.”
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He added: “On the fourth day, we cycled through the worst rain I’ve ever seen. It was torrential, and they were really big hills. It rained non-stop for 20 miles but we had dried out before we reached Paris.
“The best part was when we reached the Arc de Triomphe. That’s a moment that will live with me forever. It was very busy when we were trying to cross the road. Bikes aren’t allowed on the Arc de Triomphe but we didn’t know that. We got chased away by armed police – they had riffles. It was a hairy moment but with guns behind us, we walked straight across the traffic.”
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The convoy had two support vehicles. Chris said: “They were absolutely essential to help out with flat tyres and getting stuff from shops. One of the riders had a buckled wheel and had to go to the local town to get it fixed. It was a great achievement that everybody finished. Several people raised over £2,000.”
On the trip was Ray Olds, 66, CEO at Cambridge Online Systems (one of the trip’s corporate sponsors) who raised over £2,000 for the charity Eddie’s (formerly Cambridgeshire Mencap) for its Family Support Service.
Chris Badcock from Duxford, raised £2,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Other main beneficiaries were Red Balloon, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Ickleton Cricket Club.
Other corporate sponsors included Team Consulting in Ickleton, Farmers Lewis Duke, St Ives Foods, Saffron Walden NFU and Newdales bike shop in Saffron Walden.