Their story in their words……
“Saturday 5th November- one remarkable day of our lives. After weeks of preparation and planning we finally set off to embark on this challenge at eight o’clock sharp in the morning. The group members all met on time at the train station, however, unfortunately upon arrival at the train station we had found that our train services were out of operation due engineering problems. Due to this issue our arrival time at Colchester was delayed by a few hours and as a result we had reached our destination later than expected. Nevertheless, before setting off to Southend, we spent a few minutes at the ticket office collecting the bike unlocking codes and locating the bike and go stand as well as asking the staff at the office any unanswered question. They offered us leaflets and contact details that could possibly assist us if anything major was to go wrong.
Soon, once we were all clear and comfortable we set off on our journey. But, we couldn’t help but think of the cold weather and steep hills which were made even more difficult due to the heavy weight of the bikes. Despite the setbacks, we still continued to cycle with each group member motivating one another. Eventually we started to feel much more confident and less cold although the bikes didn’t get any less weighted. Furthermore, we started looking for the national cycle route, which we would join to enable us to reach our goal destination of Southend, in the limited amount of time we had. At this moment, we had taken our first break after cycling for a good fifty minutes. Here, we reached the beginning of the national cycle route and used our cycle stand to rest on the grass and have a small heathy snack to keep us energised for the long distance ahead of us. However, before reaching this destination we had a few difficulties as we took the wrong left at one point which got us all very confused. However, by utilising the maps and the internet on our phones we all managed to get back on the correct track.
Furthermore, the second part of the journey was in fact less hectic than the first which was a relief. However, we all still exhausted. So, after cycling for another 50 minutes we rested our tired selves on a grass area for approximately ten minutes before cycling again. In order to keep us hydrated we drank water continually throughout the day. The group members found the third part of the journey extremely difficult with patience running thin and only half of the journey covered in the limited amount of time we had left. But, this potential setback didn’t mean we gave up. We still continued knowing we had half the challenge left. We can do this is what we kept telling ourselves and when reached our goal the relief on our faces were unmeasurable.
From the glimpse of the pier at Southend, we were bursting with joy and excitement. As we got closer and closer we were thrilled. We had completed the challenge. After moments of celebration, we were extremely sad however to return the bikes to the station, knowing this very exciting challenge was over once and for all. On a positive note however, we were very grateful to have taken this chance to step out of our comfort zone. We would like to thank the Mark Evison foundation for this great opportunity.”