French Bike Ride 2017

French Bike Ride 2017

Another challenge awaits us! this time it will be long distance days of cycling through the beautiful regions of France.

The routes have been carefully mapped out for us by Richard who will be leading the way encouraging us to keep going so as we can raise as much as money possible for another great cause in the name of The James Barney Foundation.

With this challenge we are raising money for the babies, children and young adults involved in the Baytey rehab project. A non profit organization focusing on poverty, domestic violence and human trafficking they aim to bring security in a sustainable future with housing projects, holistic community and trade development programs and foster partnerships with locals to create new and healthy working relationships for a brighter future. Every penny of money raised on this challenge will be going to build a BRP modular home for a family and hopefully if we can raise enough money, two homes! $3,800 + 6 DAYS = A HOME 

Every donation makes a huge difference, a little or a lot every penny counts. Thank you.

For more information and to get involved in a voluntary venture trip please visit their website

I would like to say a huge THANKYOU to Richard & Charess Biddulph from Vintage & Prestige Ltd for putting together the trip, planning the routes and accommodations and bringing Andre who took great care of us and our bikes and dealing with any issues along the whole trip. Andre you was a blessing!!!

And a huge THANKYOU to the staff involved from Countrywide Park Homes for their help and support and of course to all those who kindly donated towards this project that would not be possible without your generosity! It is you who makes a great change in the lives of these poor children and gives them hope for their future…….. May God bless you all!

OFF WE GO! 24th Sept 2017

We had an early start at 6am cycling down through the beautiful morning mist to catch the ferry from Royan over to Verdon. We watched the sun rise whilst on the ferry and I said a little prayer for James.

The morning mist seemed to hang around for most of the morning as we cycled through Soulac sur Mer along the beach then through fields and along the train track. I spotted two early morning poachers in the woods with their guns a popular area Richard Said for hunting wild boar. We cycled some 35 miles before we stopped for breakfast in Port du Richard where we had coffee and the local brioche loaf, absolutely delicious!!! (an adept photo opportunity too by the sign with Richard). We then carried on to cycle towards Margaux and I had to stop and take photos of the most amazing chateaus I had ever seen and vineyards.

We stopped off in Saint-Estephe (Saint Stephens) for lunch and of course sampled a glass of the local wine, good advice from Charess! Before we carried on cycling to our hotel. We cycled from from 6am to 5pm today and did some 75km today, no wonder Tony was flat out on the sofa within 10 minutes of getting in our room.

We had a late start the next morning at 9am from Bordeaux with Richard involved in a bad accident and dislocating his shoulder. He was so determined to carry on he put it back in himself and then we patched him up gave him a strong coffee and carried on. Bordeaux was a lively city with incredible architecture and some fantastic street art, early mid day a thunder and lightning storm started with heavy rain so we decided to stop for early lunch until it finished. Back on the road within 5 minutes I had a puncture, once sorted we hit the road again and there was no stopping us as we rode along the riverbeds, through the old villages then along 10 miles of an old rail track and back past miles of vineyards where Tony stopped to enjoy some of the produce straight off the vine!. Towards the end of our day it was all hills, I had blisters on both my hands now from holding on so tight.  Tony had a slow puncture we found out at the end. He couldn’t understand, he said he felt the bike was fighting against him, I think it was more the struggle of the hills if you ask me….. A full day of 8 hours cycling today and I have to say Charess gets the award for strength and perseverance for carrying all the bags with everyones things in, on her bike and never even stopped once on any of the hills!!! AMAZING Charess! And of course not forgetting Richards terrible start he to deserves a medal! 

We fueled up early on a delicious traditional breakfast in the Maison de hote Bouyt (highly recommend a visit here for a weekend stay,beautiful). We had a group photo before our start on the bikes and set off from Saint – Sauveur-de-Meilhan in the Garonne region. I was looking forward to today’s ride as it’s all along the canal’s, especially as my legs feel like they weigh ten ton and my bottom has gone numb even though I’ve been wearing two pairs of cycle shorts.

The canal routes are very scenic with the rows of trees lined all the way along the banks and the still waters of the canals, it’s incredibly peaceful. We passed through the village of d’Agenais admiring the local patisserie and joined back on the canal path for miles of cycling. Along the route late in the afternoon was many apple orchards where Tony picked us an apple each to enjoy! Our last 30 minutes was uphill to where we would be staying for the night, a surprise from Richard, Castle Goudourville. Tony and Richard dressed fittingly for dinner in the castle and Guinevere the owner meet us to give us a brief tour and tell us some of the history about it. The views were incredible. 87km

After a good nights sleep and a hot bath this morning to ease the aches and pains, we set off from the castle downhill and cycled all through the beautiful countryside till mid day, when we stopped in Moissan for coffee and while there took advantage to visit inside an old monastery and church and light a candle in memory of our loved ones. The afternoon was more canals that stretched on for miles and miles under the sunny blue skies all the way to the center of Toulouse. Today we cycled some 82 km

Today is recovery day before our last day of cycling tomorrow. This morning we had a brief look around the quartier of Toulouse and then we set off in the car and visited an incredibly pretty village called Conques. A very popular tourist area but I’d never heard of it myself. It looks like a live set from a Harry Potter movie, it’s so pretty and quaint with its beautiful stone towers and little twisted houses all with lovely stoned roofs and cobbled streets (leave your heels at home) all set on a hillside. The views were stunning here looking over the valleys and down the hills, we had a wonderful lunch and bought a few little local made gifts to take back with us.

Tony received a call from home that his father had been taken into hospital with a serious illness and we had to return back to the UK on the first flight out that evening.

Unfortunately we were unable to do the last day of cycling ourselves but Richard and Charess carried on relentlessly of which we greatly thank and admire them for this.