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Biking for Brazil: We did it! From London to Oxford in sub-zero temperatures
March 25, 2013Article by Ray Withers
As the legendary Freddie Mercury once said, “I want to ride my bicycle” and whilst this is on the whole true, it’s not quite so much fun when it’s snowing, an Arctic wind blowing in and the temperature’s sub-zero as it was last Saturday.
In complete contrast to last year’s balmy spring, the wintry weather certainly made the latest Frontiers Foundation fundraising event more challenging but it didn’t stop six dedicated individuals and I from reaching our goal, riding the 63 miles from London to Oxford.
Raising awareness and funds for Project Crescer (a young person’s community project operating in the shantytowns or favelas of Rio de Janiero in Brazil) and after months of planning, we set off from Mayfair, Central London early on Saturday 23rd March 2013. Led by experienced cyclist, Adam Samuel, the team carefully made their way west, through the congested streets of London, battling sideways sleet, challenging hills and two punctures to arrive at their first stop at Iver.
After a swift whiskey to warm up and bananas for energy, the team were off again, making their way through the Buckinghamshire countryside to Little Marlow, the half-way point and lunch. Morale was high with everyone keen to continue our journey across the Chilterns despite the snow falling heavier outside.
By 3pm the team were off again and ready to tackle the hills leading out of Marlow. As the elevation increased so did the snow cover which created some stunning scenery for the riders to pass through. Reminiscent of a winter wonderland, the team took on each hill with gusto, spurred on by the Red Kites overhead and encouragement provided by fellow Frontiers Foundation Trustee, Emily Withers in the support car.
Despite a small incident on a bend which resulted in Katie Bidwell taking on a muddy bank (she won!), the team made it safely to the third and final stop in the village of Cuxham. Gathering around the fireplace, warming up with another purely medicinal whiskey, the team prepared for the final push to Oxford.
As dusk was fast approaching, lights were fitted and extra layers added to stave off the sub-zero temperatures before the team embarked upon the last 15 miles of undulating countryside into Oxford. Cycling in the dark and trying to avoid potholes was hard work but seeing the orange glow of the lights of Oxford in the distance kept us going. Mile after mile we pedalled, desperate to reach the finish line of the Property Frontiers’ Head Office in central Oxford.
Riding into the city as the houses and traffic built up again was quite a shock to the system after 30 miles of serene countryside but an equally welcome sight especially with the college bells ringing out almost heralding our arrival. By 7.30pm the first riders – Katie Bidwell, Ray Withers, Adam Samuel and Charlotte Ashton – reached the finish.
10 hours, 63 miles and 3,500 calories later, we’d done it! The support from friends and family along the way has been superb and by the time we’d reach Oxford, we’d smashed our fundraising target raising a staggering £2,000 for Project Crescer.
Over a well-deserved beer and some food, the team reflected on the events of the day, the highs, the lows and our own experiences. As the toughest Frontiers Foundation challenge to date, this bicycle ride pushed us to our limits but the team’s determination to succeed and reach our goal was overwhelming.
Congratulations to everyone who took part – Adam Samuel, Ray and Emily Withers, Katie Bidwell, Charlotte Ashton, Sian Waldron, Georgina Green and Marcus Vassiliou – as well as everyone who supported and donated to this worthwhile event.
Funds have now been sent to Project Crescer via Task Brasil and we look forward to receiving an update from our sponsored Educationalist soon.
For more information including photos and video of the event please visit the Frontiers Foundation’s dedicated Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FrontiersFoundation or call -+44 1865 202 700.