Well it is all over. After 5 weeks of preparation and fundraising it was time for the final ride to take place from Derby University in Buxton.
The nights stay at the university was extremely comfortable and nothing was too much trouble for the staff, they went out of their way to help us
The cycle clothing was donned for the final time and at 07:30 we were all ready and rode from the University around to Buxton Police Station where we were met with 70+ riders all ready to join us, in the final push to the Greater Manchester Headquarters. It was amazing to see the number of people who had turned out to join us and was something we were not expecting.
Following a quick briefing we were ready to head off. It was an amazing site to cycle off followed by the 70+ riders who had given up their own time to join us
We made our way out of Buxton and were again confronted with some hills that a few days before may have seemed ok, but with tired legs and aching bodies they seemed like mountains, but we all pushed through with words of encouragement from our fellow riders. Having come out of the Valley, what a sight we were confronted with, the slopes leading down the side of the hills down towards Manchester, however the gale force winds that came with it was not that much fun.
We got all the way through and having mended a puncture on route one of the GMP Race Team Riders along with a colleague took to the head of the pack and paced us to make sure that we arrived on time at the headquarters.
The ride went forward at a nice comfortable pace and we were able to have a chat with colleagues and other members of the public who had joined the ride, until we were all called to the front for the final few corners.
Everyone one of us felt emotional as we rounded the final corner in a line to tackle the final short hill to GMP Headquarters
The response we received was amazing, there was a crowd outside the Police Headquarters all clapping and willing us on to the finish line and camera's everywhere. Having finished we were humbled when the parents of Fiona and Nicola came over to thank us for our efforts, and myself and Mark along with the rest of the team were struggling not to break down, we were so proud of what we had achieved and the support we had received, and knowing that we were able to hand over a cheque for £6000 brought everything home.
having spoken to a couple of news crews, we then made our way inside to a presentation and speeches., and we again had the opportunity to speak to the families and the colleagues who had ridden with us on the final stage.
Our giant cheque was handed over and we presented the Assistant Chief Constable with a Metropolitan Police Plaque in remembrance of the ride.
We had representatives from the North West Benevolent Fund who have carried out the organisation from the GMP end and supported us throughout, they have been a real life saver. We were handed wristbands in memory of Fiona and Nicola which we are all proudly wearing.
A quick shower and into No. 1 Uniform and we were taken to the Greater Manchester Police Museum, and wow, what a time we had there. We were given a guided tour through the museum by Ron who's knowledge is second to none and to hear the history of GMP and Police in general, as well as look around the old Police Station was a real treat, i have never been to a place like it. It is nice to see that some Police History lives on, it is well worth a visit.
Following our museum visit we were then taken on a tour of Manchester before going to Sedgley Park to lay some flowers and cards at the Police Memorial, here emotions were high and thoughts with all of our extended family, friends and colleagues
We also had the opportunity to present Vicky with the Metropolitan Police Beat Duty Helmet she had asked for, which was an honour
This has been an emotional trip organised over a short amount of time. We are extremely proud to have been able to raise the £6000 for the North West Police Benevolent Fund and show our support to our colleagues and their families, and we thank everyone who has assisted us along the way, whether it be by donations, clothing supplies, food, accommodation e.t.c we could not have done it without you
Well day 3 was upon us all to quickly, and this morning there were a number of us walking like penguins, but sheer determination was carrying us forward and after a hearty breakfast at the Holiday Inn, Rugby, it was time to saddle up and carry on the journey.
Again the weather was extremely kind to us and for the first 30 miles we made great progress and the effects from the previous days ride, seemed to have all but dissapeared. After 20 miles we stopped for a quick refreshment break and then ploughed on to the 40 mile point. A hot drink, pastie, cheese and nuts refuelled everybody and away we went again, but here was where our jovial riding stopped.
We were introduced to the Derby Moors and the hills that go with it, and the great pace from the morning slowed. Some of the hills felt like they would never end.
However through sheer determination we conquered the hills, many Mars Bars, cans of Monster and Bike Food Sachets assisted along the way allowing the riders to push through and complete the 82 miles.
We had been hoping throughout that some of the ups would turn into downs, but that never happened
That is 170 miles completed and we are al really looking forward to the final 25 miles and handing over the cheque to the charity. Special mention has to go to Sam, Loz and Wes who without them carrying us through today we would not have made it, they are absolute machines who just keep on going and keeping everyone fully motivated
It has been an emotional journey, and for a group of people who the majority of which have little or no riding experience, to have completed the 170 miles is a massive achievement.
We only had one incident today where Mark also forgot his feet were attached to the pedals and whilst trying to follow some advice of changing two sets of gears at the same time, hit the deck
Well here is to some food and a good nights sleep, and onwards and upwards for the final leg. Here are some photo's from today's journey, showing that we are still smiling
Well what a day. 79 miles later and we finally arrived in Rugby
We decided to have a 5 mile warm up and rode from the Holiday Inn in Sipson to Uxbridge Police Station. We departed Uxbridge Police Station at 0930 and started the trip. Many of our colleagues joined us to send us off and Loz's mum again made a great effort that we really appreciate and came to see us off.
Eight riders started the journey and we all made it to Aylesbury Police Station, 30 miles away in about an hour and a half. We were welcomed there by staff who came to say hello whilst we had a quick cup a soup and bagel before heading off again to complete the 45 miles to Rugby (or so Wes told us anyway).
We had a few issues following the route and went through three iphones as there batteries didn't appear to want to last the journey, but we all made it arriving at the Holiday Inn at 17:00 only 30 minutes later than we had anticipated. All riders crossed the finish line .
It was a pretty straight forward ride and the weather was kind to us, we only had one accident where Tony forgot his feet were attached top the pedals again.
The Altura Jackets we had been donated by the cyclestore.com really helped keep out the wind today and McProducts high viz jackets kept us all safe, and we were kept fed and watered by Tesco's and the gel packs from Bikefood were amazing although an acquired taste.
I must also inform everyone that we have a cheat in our midst, Mark decided one of the hills was just too much for him and had to be pushed up the hill by Wes.
All in all a great day, although i am sure we will be tired and sore tomorrow as we make our way to Buxton, we had a great day as shown in the pictures below. The Altura jackets kept us warm and free from the wind, the Mcproducts high viz vests kept us seen, and Tesco's kept us fed and watered.
Well we have all arrived safely on stage one of the event. Having had an early start the vans were finally loaded and we made our way to Westminster Cathedral for a memorial service.
We were very humbled to have the opportunity to meet family members prior to the event.
The memorial mass was an emotional time and re enforced to all of us why we are doing this ride, and are thoughts are with all of the families who have lost loved ones.
Having had glorious weather this morning, low and behold it decides to rain just as we left on our 20 mile journey to Hillingdon. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came out of the mass and braved the elements to see us off, and a big thank you to loz's parents who came all of the way to Westminster to see her off and meet the team.
The Deko Team shirts looked stunning as we all rode off out of Westminster and through Constitution Hill and certainly got us noticed.
Only a few drama's on the route back, one broken seat, one set of binding breaks and a G4 Security Van that tried to wipe out the whole team, oh and the major part of the route the A4 being shut giving us a quick change to the route, but we have all arrived safely at the Holiday Inn in Sipson for a hot shower, some food and then bed ready for the 70 miles we have to complete tomorrow. Hopefully by then Mark and I may have got the hang of the cleated shoes we have little experience in using, but all in all a nice ride.
Really grateful for the winter gear the cycle store kindly donated, i think it may be coming in handy over the next few days.
We are now drawing extremely close to D-day and final preparations are taking form. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of local and national companies, who have allowed this charity event to take place.
We have been given places to stay, equipment to use on the ride along with first aid supplies and maintenance equipment for the bikes in order to keep us up and running.
One of our biggest issues was gaining a charity cheque to present to the North West Police Benevolent Fund following this mammoth fund raising event, we were extremely lucky that TC Communications came through and very kindly designed and printed a large presentation cheque for us.
Wes has been beavering away and fully servicing all of our bikes to make sure they are ship shape before we leave and hopefully minimize any issues we have on route.
St johns Ambulance have also in conjunction with Cardiac Services loaned us a automated external defibrillator to cover any eventualities
Cycle Store have supplied us with numerous pieces of cycle clothing and maintenance equipment, which we are extremely grateful for, especially due to the change in weather, this will be used in conjunction with the equipment supplied by Niton and Police Supplies to keep us warm and waterproof
The charity raffle has also raised over £300 to date and we are extremely thankful to all companies who have kindly donated prizes for this
And finally thank you to everyone who has donated to the fund, we are only £195 short of our target of £5000 and i am sure a final push over the next few days will allow us to reach this target.
We will be keeping you updated throughout th