Their story, in their words….
178 km, 6 bikes, 2 days and 1 … average team name: from the 6th – 7th of August, the Cycle Squad endeavoured to complete the most physically challenging feat that we had ever faced. Our mission was simple, we would ride from London to Hastings, pit stop for the night and then continue onto Brighton the morning after. It sounded simple: we had our maps printed and downloaded (we were determined that the winding, impossible to navigate terrain of central London and England’s B-road system wouldn’t be our downfall), water by the gallon-full, pumped tyres and most importantly our holy grail: breakfast bars. What we learnt very quickly was that journeys like this are all about stamina and conserving energy (something that getting winded after 10 minutes of full-speed riding taught us) but with this lesson learnt, the first leg of our journey was relatively smooth and surprisingly fun. We got to see lots of little parks with playgrounds and the second thing that we learnt was that swings never stop being fun, no matter how old you are. We got to Hastings in good time but upon entering it, we very quickly learnt lesson number 3: it’s normally a good idea to print off the route from the town entry point to wherever you’re staying. Thankfully, we had our wits (and mobile data) about us and found it, arguing over who got to shower first and then feasting like kings: microwave noodles. The next day was an early start, we were up and out within under an hour and thank goodness because… well this leg proved to be the harder of the two. Our first issue was how bad a pairing sore leg made with uphill inclines, an issue that most skilled riders would have dealt with by persevering and breaking a sweat but one that we however dealt with by getting off and walking whenever there was an upwards hill. Next there was the piercing of a tyre but that was easily dealt with… in over and hour. We finally got the inner changed and learnt lesson number 4: sitting around for an hour fixing a tyre is the perfect time for karaoke. Back on the road, we made it finally to Brighton (much later than planned) with only a few hours left before we had to be on our train back home. Too sore to enjoy the beach, we ended up chaining our bikes up and just sitting in a park, reminiscing on our challenge. It was hard- literally hard enough to make 3/5 of us vow to never ride a bike again- but it was also insanely rewarding! We, a group of probably undertrained and not exactly top-tier athletes rode almost 200 km with no major injury or mishaps and in not awful timings! More than anything, we are all just really proud of ourselves.