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Cycle to Paris or Sydney! Full article published in Adventure Travel – Jan 2015

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Cycle to Paris or Sydney! Full article published in Adventure Travel – Jan 2015

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January 13th, 2015

Here is the full article which featured in Adventure Travel’s 115th edition in January 2015, written by Adventure Travel Editor, Rosie Fuller….

You don’t need to quit your job to cycle from the UK to Sydney – you can do it in stages.  Rosie Fuller finds out more about Ride25…

“About four years ago, Rob Hamilton, my business partner, texted a few friends saying ‘how about a ride to Australia?’ Neither of us were super keen cyclists or had ever really travelled with our bikes, but we wanted to do something annually that got a big group of mates together and raised some money for charity’ says John Readman.

“We got about 40 people to cycle from Rob’s house in Oxfordshire to Paris, and the following year we ended up with 80 people cycling from Paris to Geneva. Then we wondered how many people we could get to do Geneva to Milan and within four or five days we sold about 150 places. So we thought, wow – maybe there’s a business in this.”

Ride25 London to Paris Cycling Holiday 307Rob and John set up Ride25, which aims to get people to cycle all the way from the UK to Sydney in bite sized chunks – there are 25 sections if you go the whole way. I’ve joined them for the first day of a London to Paris ride (you can also start in Leeds, Manchester or Bristol) and although London to Brighton seems insignificant in the grand scheme, it’s still marvellous.

“We want to inspire people who maybe haven’t done this sort of adventure before to get on their bikes and travel with their bikes,” says John. ‘Seeing the world from that completely different perspective is fantastic. You get to villages and towns that you would never go to normally.

There’s some amazing scenery, and it’s also about the food. A lot of cycling events have ‘feed stations’ where you just stop at the side of the road, get some energy in side you and carry on. We always do a nice lunch and a nice dinner. I suppose it’s like a skiing holiday but on a bike. And it’s a platform for people to raise hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of pounds for charity, as it’s a different event every year. You don’t have to do it for charity but we encourage people to as it’s a big thing.”

Because the rides are self0guided you can go at your own speed, and John is confident that riders of all abilities will find someone they enjoy cycling with. Ride25 provide the route for each day and meets cyclists at set points along the way, for refreshment breaks and lunch.

Ride25 London to Paris Cycling Holiday 195Because it is self-navigated it is genuinely an adventure and a challenge.” John says. “We want people to have to think, rather than just following signs. Part of the adventure sometimes is getting a little bit lost, and the teamwork that comes together when you have to get the map out. You have this shared adventure. If it were all to easy you’d probably never remember peoples names.”

That’s definitely true of my ride. Finding a group of kindred spirits somewhere near the back, we manage to cycle down the wrong hill.  Not only that, but the extra time it takes us to get back on track means we get caught in a monsoon before morning coffee break that we’d otherwise have avoided.  But after that we’re a team.  We have a laugh, feed each other energy gels and stick together until the bitter-end, 80-ish miles later.

The Ride25 team are currently recce-ing the route as far as Istanbul, and hope to make it to Sydney by the end of 2015. So which section is John looking forward to the most?

“Every time we do a section I think, ‘nothing will ever beat that,’ then we go and do a new recce and think it is better than last time,” he says. “But I am particularly looking forward to some of the stuff in Malaysia and some of the more unusual landscapes where you’ve got the ocean and the mountains – and it’s lovely and warm! And just enjoying the different foods and cultures. On a bike everybody seems to welcome you in. I think it’s going to be a bit of a challenge getting across India, but we’ll have some fantastic experiences.”

And people don’t have to go into it thinking they’ll cycle the whole way to Australia. “You can dip in and out. If you just want to book in and do Milan to Rome with your mates that’s fine. We think the most popular sections are going to be the nearer European ones, but we’re hoping that we capture people’s imagination and if a small percentage of those riders want to carry on and do a few my=ore legs then fantastic. I think if we get 10% of the people who start all the way to Sydney I’d be an extremely happy person. Then again, of those 150 people who did Geneva to Milan last year, 80 of them say they’re going to go all the way, so who knows.”

Adventure Travel Ride25 article Jan Feb 2015And what will he do when they eventually get to Sydney?

“Come back I suppose! Well, we’re actually in talks with a company in Australia to get Australian riders to come back the other way – Sydney to London. And then we’ve done that were looking at doing the top of Canada to the bottom of South America. That would be a big adventure.”

Even reaching Brighton’s blustery sea front, watching kite surfers, seeing the iconic pier and winding through the pretty narrow streets called The Lanes to find the pub where we meet for a celebratory pint (or two) feels like an achievement to me.  And for some people that’s the beginning.


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