now i have to add in my bit and this may be a bit long, but since my work who has very kindly sponsored me as well has asked for a little story on how the day went…
Up at 4 am on Saturday morning, was not something I was looking forward to doing, but I am so very glad I did do that. When Barro first came to me and asked me if I would like to do the weekend, I had no idea what I had let myself in for. It has to have been one of the most fantastic, awe-inspiring events I have had the pleasure to be involved in.
Arriving at Greenwich, only 20 minutes late because the blackwall tunnel was closed, and I had to reroute through Surrey Keys, we arrived at Greenwich Park to find loads of other bikers there. Given my bike was stacked with luggage and of course, the lovely pink and white bras that we wore, getting off the bike was a lot harder than getting on it. Luggage unpacked it was off to the marquee for the safety video, registration and breakfast. plus of course the t-shirts that we received. Which utterly matched my bike , and I have to say that having people run up to you to call you the “orange people” was brilliant. And so our first day began!
Lining up and riding through the walkers with us cheering them on and vice versa was just a small glimpse of what the weekend was going to be like! Lined up at the entrance we waited for the walkers to pass before saddling up and riding off to our first check points. With Barro and PBZ on despatch, Charlie and Trojan as sweepers and first aiders and our two captains Matt and Macp, we were dropped off at our first points for the days and I for one, thouroughly enjoyed chatting to people who were coming up along the route! Even this happy cheer amongst everyone was only a glimpse of what was to come. By the end of the day, all of us were feeling a bit weary, and there was one stage where I thought I could just happily keel over, (and I was on a bike!) and yet those walkers carried on walking always with a smile on their faces and such happy attitudes that I still get choked up about when I think about it now - I know I could not have done what they had done over the weekend.
Back at camp, formation in and the walkers went absolutely nuts to see us riding in!! All of them were raving about how much they enjoyed have the bikers at all of the checkpoints. I think the one thing that was a common theme was we LOVE the bikers or the orange people!!!
Next day up early and back to the route again. I have to be honest by Sunday morning I was knackered and as MacP put it “My God dont you look lovely this morning!!” Yeah I know! The two teams went out and my first point was Checkpoint 9 right by one of the pit stops. The crew there was unbelievable, Westfazer and myself were looked after so well while we were directing walkers across a very busy road. And most of the cage drivers were very happy to not only stop safely but a lot of them were cheering us on as well. My favourite though was a truck driver who had stopped and then decided to play tag with me, I have never laughed as much as I did then. The atmosphere was unbelievable! Of course, there was the odd one or two drivers who frankly I am greatful I am not a violent person.
Off for lunch and then to the next stop with Salee and another biker (not an LB member, but I am sure he’ll join up now!) were we had the unfortunate task of telling the walkers the bad news that the Greenwich foot tunnel’s lifts were out of commission and that they would have to walk UP 190 steps, this after they had just walked about 58 kilometres over the course of the two days. An alternative was offered which allowed them to take the DLR trains one stop to the finish point. And this is where I realised the depth of these women’s and men’s will power, courage and absolute strength of character. As they refused to take the train and were determined to do that 190 steps! In fact, as I am typing this now and reliving that I have tears in my eyes and only wish I could be half the woman that some of those women are!
Back to Greenwich for the closing cermony and what can I say!! The applause the thanks and the love that filled the park that day was too much. Riding in through the park, was the proudest moment of my life. Walking up to the stage area was even better! I have never done something which has made me so proud of my bike as I did yesterday, not even my first wheelie!! The speeches were unbelievable as various people came on to talk of the bravery of these women! Looking around at the crowd, there were many there with tears in the eyes, including some of the “big bad bikers” - You guys are softies after all… Thousands of people, all with a common goal - its amazing what we can do together!
After the speeches were done, and we were went back to the bikes. I went over to Blade and Kwakked up who had come to support us. On my way there one of the survivors came up to me (and now I am crying!) and told me she was looking out for me the whole route along, because she knew we were there to look after them and encourage them and without me she did not think she could have done it! Here is a woman who has just defeated a horrific disease, walked 60 kms and she thinks she could not have done it without me! I think she could have climbed Mt. Everest if she had put her mind to it!!!
So all in all, what a great weekend, I have learned something really valuable this weekend. We are responsible for how other people see us, and we forget how much of an influence we have on others. Those women are amongst the bravest women I have seen and had the honour to meet. So LB I want to say thank you for allowing me this opportunity and priviledge to take part in something truly phenominal!!
So big thank you to everyone!!
PS. There is so much more stories but I am gonna leave it to someone else to continue.