7th July 2017
Hitting the open road en route to Portsmouth, the riders prepare to endure sweltering temperatures as the opening day of Bristol to Bordeaux got underway.
70 cyclists were taking part on the Bailey of Bristol sponsored cycle challenge including Bailey’s Managing Director Nick Howard, Sales Director Ian Rawlings, and Production Director Andy Rowles as the first day started from Temple Quay in Bristol (Pictured are the riders from Bailey of Bristol and White Arches Caravans. From left to right - Andy Rowles, Nick White and Jo White - both from White Arches Caravans, Nick Howard, Steve Sharpe - also White Arches Caravans, and Ian Rawlings).
Throughout the challenge vital back-up is being provided by a Bailey Autograph 79-4T motorhome, with the vehicle supporting riders during the cycle from Bristol to Bordeaux. The motorhome will provide refreshment and respite at all water stops and be on hand to aid cyclists on some of the tougher terrain during the ride.
The Bristol to Bordeaux Cycle Challenge is a 4-day, 500-mile ride to fundraise for Bristol charity PROPS - a special needs charity based in Bristol. Starting from Bristol in the South West of England, riders make the journey to its twin city, Bordeaux, in the South West of France. Open to people of all ages and abilities, the riders can choose between two routes, the 500-mile ‘extreme’ course or the 300-mile ‘classic’.
Starting at 7am, the ‘extreme’ cyclists made their way to Sherston, stopping off at the Angel Café for the first water stop. From there the riders cycled through Bradford on Avon and Warminster, where they were joined by the ‘classic’ riders, before stopping at Wilton Shopping Village for the lunch stop with the motorhome on hand refueling the cyclists with some much needed nutrition.
After the lunch stop, the cyclists travelled through Salisbury via its historic cathedral and on to the first afternoon water stop at the Bear and Ragged Staff in Romsey. From there it is on to the afternoon’s second water stop at Bishops Waltham before they take on the final part of the first day passing through Shedfield, Wickham and Southwick. Throughout the day riders struggling in the hot and humid conditions were helped along by the carrying capacity and 160 bhp engine of the Autograph 79-4T.
Arriving at HMS Excellent Naval Base in Portsmouth, with an overnight ferry crossing to St Malo awaiting them, physios were available to massage the life back into weary limbs. The motorhome was also on hand offering support to cyclists after finishing the gruelling first stage.
The first day of this year’s ride saw temperatures hit 27 degrees, and the humidity made the ride particularly challenging for the cyclists. With two out of three of Bailey’s riders taking on the extreme challenge, alongside representatives from Bailey retailer White Arches Caravans, Sales Director Ian explained how tough but enjoyable the opening day was. “It was good fun, the weather was a bit warm, so it took a little of getting used to, particularly when we got to the 80 mile stage. But going round with Steve Sharpe from White Arches was great, we managed to get here in good time, so yeah, really enjoyed it”, said Ian.
Talking about the hardest parts of the challenge, Ian pointed to how some of the unexpected challenges of the day, “Lunch was fantastic, but getting back on the bike was less fantastic”, he said.
However, the experience of being involved with such a worthwhile cause was something he found to be really enjoyable. “It’s great to meet lots of new people, all in all it’s been a really nice experience”, Ian said. He went on to explain that after the beautiful scenery they had been surrounded by as they travelled through the Southern end of the Cotswolds, the lanes of Wiltshire and on into Hampshire, he and the other riders were looking forward to the next three days across the channel. “We’re really excited to see what the ride brings once we’re in France.”
Day two of the cycle challenge saw the riders take on the ride from St Malo to Nantes, day three will take them on again to Chatellailon-Plage, with day four taking them to the final destination of Bordeaux all the while shadowed by the reassuring presence of the Baily Autograph 79-4T.