Their story, in their words…
“On the morning of the 25th of June we received a blessing from the school chaplain and set off through the main gate of Dulwich College heading towards Portsmouth. This first day was a very tough experience for the three of us. The distance turned out to be 145km instead of the 120km we expected. In consequence we arrived at the ferry terminal just 15 minutes before departure. We also never thought that a standard cabin bed could feel so comfortable!
We cycled through France in one week. It was very enjoyable despite a few rainy days. The terrain was moderately hilly, but for most of the time we rode the bike lanes – France is very friendly to cyclists. We were very warmly welcomed in all seven cities that we visited. All of our hosts offered us some delicious regional dishes and wine.
After a nice and smooth week in France it was time to face a much greater challenge in Spain. We expected that it was going to be difficult, therefore we decided to spend two weeks cycling through Spain. There are almost no bike lanes, so for most of the time we had to use major roads with very heavy traffic. The temperatures were rising up to 42oC so we were drinking up to 8 litres of water per day. On average we had to climb over 1000m, which in such weather conditions can be really demanding.
Again, in Spain we were hosted by some really charming people. We stayed with ten different families and all of them were really curious to hear about our cause and the trip itself. The only difference to the French hosts was that they always offered beer instead of wine for the supper.
So far it has been the most unforgettable experience in my whole life. I met people from different cultures, I have seen many breath-taking landscapes and experienced an immense surge of happiness when I finally saw the Rock of Gibraltar after 20 days of cycling. We both felt real fulfilment, most importantly we learnt how to approach conflicts and how to solve them with benefit for both parties. Also, we learnt that there is nothing you can be sure about, especially in terms of human error and the weather! Before the challenge we didn’t know that we were able to withstand such psychological pressure and that we could push ourselves that far physically.
After cycling a distance of 2,300km, we were welcomed by the Mayor of Gibraltar, the Consul of Poland and Dean of Gibraltar at a special ceremony held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Many thanks to the Mark Evison Foundation for helping us carry out such a monumental challenge.”