We started off from home really well and arrived to the starting point in good time. After a check of our bike there were a few problems, the local bike shop helped us out. As we joined the inward path, going away from the coastal route a chain came off in a way we could not fix ourselves, thankfully the support vehicle was able to scoot this bike off to a local bike shop to be repaired and return it. Along the way, we did have time to enjoy the view and we even had our own traffic jam, as a herd of cows were being moved along the track. As the temperature started to warm up we had to stop for water a number of times. We rolled in Southwater Country Park for lunch about 12.00pm with the longest half behind us.
After lunch we set off well, but unfortunately part of the path had been closed and redirected and as we pushed our bikes over this rough ground one chap was hurt by a huge thorn and first aid was needed. Then almost instantly one of the other bike’s tyre was slashed. We were unable to fix this by the road. We walked back to the last point where the support vehicle could meet us and the bike and rider went off to be repaired. The rest of us then continued and we very carefully crossed the rough ground for the second time. We even found some alternative bikes to ride. Along the flat we manged to go at a reasonable speed. Then we hit the hill which seemed to up for an awfully long way. We had to take a rest at the top because the afternoon was quite warm by then. Everyone enjoyed the downward ride until we reached the bottom, we took a wrong turn and got lost in the woods for a little bit and another bike problem. We took an early tea break and waited for the support vehicle to find us.
We were re-joined by the repaired tyre and its rider and we continued to the end. We finished the ride at 18.15pm with a sprint finish - our youngest rider beating us over the line first.
What we have learnt from our epic bike ride is that planning is the key, having brilliant support saves the day and resilience. Life is not perfect and there are days when things go wrong, it is how we deal with those challenges that makes us great!
Finally, I am only a teacher I can’t make anyone do anything. My role is to facilitate the learning. Doing a ride like this is a massive undertaking, we simply broke it down in to smaller manageable stages. Any problem or any adventure in life can be broken down into much smaller segments and each segment tackled one at a time. But at the end of the day it is you - and only you - who decides to finish.
I am very proud of the boys who took part in our bike ride, some of us might not want to see a saddle for the next few days. I would also like to say a huge thank you to the drivers of the support vehicles. How much we raise is up to others!
Our 43-mile bike ride along the Downs link from Brighton to Guildford will be raising money for Action for Carers Surrey. (For more information about this fantastic organization, visit their website: https://www.actionforcarers.org.uk/) This charity supports carers to look after family, partners or friends who are ill, frail or have a disability. The care they provide is unpaid.
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Orchard-training