I’ll admit, for those who were worried, the title of this is a little over dramatic. But I suppose it did make you click.
We have two young children and as any parent will tell you, your free time evaporates once the babies come along. Not only did my love for riding lead to setting up Yellow Jersey, but it was cycling with my local club where I met my wife.
Cycling has been a major influence on our lives, but over the last few years it just hasn’t been something we have been able to enjoy together. We have found ourselves taking our bikes with us on family holidays, and then taking it in turns to ride while the other took care of the children. When one of us goes for a weekend ride, the other will generally stay at home.
When Bloodwise gave us the opportunity to join their ride down to Paris, we jumped at the chance. With the kids packed up and sent to their grandparents, we have been given 4 days to spend without them doing the thing we love. And we only had to agree to cycle 343 miles.
Your typical sportive tends to be a fairly no frills affair. Open roads with a few chalk lines to show you where to go, maybe a few feed stations to grab an energy bar and a little bit of water. I’ve seen longer distance rides where your entry money will get you a .gpx file, a smile, and then you’re off on your own. Bloodwise London to Paris couldn’t be further from this.
When Yellow Jersey teamed up with Bloodwise last year, they invited us along for the first leg from London down to the coast. We had some of our goodies to hand out to the riders, but more than anything it was a chance for a few of the YJ team to get out of the office and stretch their legs for the day.
The Bloodwise ride blew us away. After a fairly standard start, making small talk with the other riders and friendly support crew, the peloton set off under the guidance of a team of motorcycle outriders.
Made up of a contingent of ex-police motorbike riders, the outriders maintained their rolling roadblock all the way down to the coast. As we reached each junction and roundabout the motorcycles would be there, holding back the traffic and waving us through. As we passed, they would speed off into the distance ready to bring us through again.
It was incredibly freeing to ride this way. Riding on usually busy roads without thinking about traffic or stopping at the lights is something I haven’t experienced before. The branded up team cars following with spare wheels on their roofs only added to the feeling of riding in the pro peloton as we made our way down to the coast, fitting in a good 1000m of climbing on the way. The promise to repeat this feeling all the way to Paris and finishing with an unobstructed ride up the Champs Elysee this year was just too good an opportunity to turn down.
Bloodwise have had huge success activating cyclists to raise money for their research work. Founded in 1960 by a family who lost their young daughter to leukaemia, they work to one objective. Not taking blood cancer lying down.
Our vision is simple: we’re here to beat blood cancer.
We stop people dying from blood cancer, we make patients’ lives better, and we look for ways to stop blood cancer happening in the first place.
We stop people dying from blood cancer
We won’t stop until every single person with blood cancer survives and no one dies from blood cancer again. 100% survival, nothing less.
We make people’s lives better
People with blood cancer should be able to live their lives to the full: free from the fear of relapse; free from side effects and free to do the things they love. We’ll work to improve quality of life until blood cancer no longer has an impact.
We look for ways to stop people getting blood cancer in the first place
If there are ways to prevent blood cancer, we’ll find them. We’ll uncover how blood cancer works, so we can stop it happening
While many similar organisations are feeling the effect of ‘charity fatigue’, Bloodwise are motivating their fundraisers with extraordinary passion projects like the London to Paris ride. Not only has this approach helped to raise their profile and awareness of the work they do, but also invest half a billion into researching all for the forms blood cancer can take, and new methods of combating it.