London to Hythe Expedition Successfully Navigated
On Saturday, 28th October 2017, an energetic group of Millennium Consulting employees and associates completed a gruelling 80 mile bike ride from Trafalgar Square, London to the south Kent coast, in support of Vision Africa.
Setting off from Nelson’s Column, where Horatio Nelson is honoured for his remarkable victories, they too sought to navigate their way through the beautiful Kent countryside to the high seas of Hythe. Having luckily avoided Storm Brian which struck the UK the previous weekend, conditions were sunny but chilly for the 8:30 early morning start. It was idyllic cycling weather.
After the obligatory pre-journey team photo (above), the group set off on the trickiest part of the ride, navigating a route out of Central London. Jon Durrant and Andy Ostle made a quick getaway although unfortunately for them, it was in the wrong direction which added an additional 5 miles to their journey. The other riders peeled off into smaller groups and headed south towards the first checkpoint at Sevenoaks, around 28 miles from the start.
The promise of coffee and cake was enough to power everyone through the most undulating part of the ride and the busy “A” roads. For Dave Callanan, Duncan Howitt and Sara Carter it included a close encounter with the M25 which was not part of the original route plan. When the ‘Easy Riders’ arrived at Sevenoaks, they were met by the support team car laden with welcome ‘goody bags’ containing much needed drinks and chocolate. There was, however, no sign of the ‘F1’ riders, who were long since gone. The leisurely break also provided Duncan Howitt with the opportunity to acquire an additional passenger, who was happy to help him navigate from his lofty position perched on his shoulders (see picture below).
Having split up into smaller groups once again for the next leg, a variety of routes were taken which in some cases added even more miles. However everyone arrived eventually at the second stop in Staplehurst. After resuming the planned route, Jon Durrant and Andy Ostle were joined by Ross Richardson in Staplehurst, however, their rapid journey meant they arrived before the support team and unfortunately missed the refreshments available for the later group. The three of them continued regardless through the final 30 miles, arriving in Hythe at 2.15 p.m. an impressive five and a half hours. Brendan Shaw who was forced to ride without directions and a flat phone battery was next to arrive at around 2.45 p.m.
Next up was Rupert ‘The Lone Ranger’ Aspey who having lost the main group on the outskirts of London, made great progress on his own and with limited local knowledge, no map or directions and only his phone for company crossed the finishing line at 3:15 p.m.
The “Easy Riders” remained together most of the way through the last leg, only splitting up 10 miles from home. They all arrived at the finishing line around 5.00 p.m. with aching legs and a raging thirst. A cold beer never tasted quite so good!
A great time was had by all and most importantly over £1,000 was raised for Vision Africa. Thank you to the participants, Andy Ostle, Brendan Shaw, Dave Callanan, Duncan Howitt, John Hemphrey, Jon Durrant, Jon Shillibeer, Louise Hemphrey, Morag Hards, Phil Hards, Phil Keet, Ross Richardson, Rupert Aspey, Sara Carter and Steve Pierce. For anyone still able to contribute to this cause there’s still time to donate by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/londontohythebikeride.