Tim Pyatt, Chris Treacher, Mark Williamson, Jerry Cookson and I all joined a merry band from Banjo Cycles to take on the ‘Chase the Sun’ event on 24th June 2023.
This annual event started in 2008 when three cyclists set off to see how far they could cycle in a single day. The organisers now put on three events in the UK and one in Italy, and we had chosen the ‘South’ version, which started at sunrise in Minster on Sea in Kent, with the aim of reaching Weston Super Mere (a mere 205 miles later) before the sun set!
What a day. The atmosphere was unique – it is more a celebration of cycling than a race, with great camaraderie between all the riders and everyone having their own goals to reach. Our group were also raising funds for Muscular Dystrophy on behalf of Tim Pyatt, one of NRC’s regular ride leaders, whose grandson has the condition.
The alarm went off at 3:00 in our hotel in Sittingbourne, and we made our start on a glorious warm and still morning. As the sun rose, we started our trip westward, with a great support crew (with a well-stocked van) meeting us every 40 miles to hand out food, water and sun cream. Riding through London in the early morning was unique (despite the endless traffic lights!) and we followed the course through Kingston, Hampton Court, Sunbury, and Camberley until the 100 mile stop at Bramley. The highlight was a stop at one of the riders houses in Wootton Hill (the course went passed her front door!), where we were greeted to endless food and treats (the ice creams were particularly welcome….) However, we had a sun to chase, so back on the bikes through the rolling Berkshire countryside to Devizes and down Cheddar Gorge. The long day was now starting to be felt in the collective legs, but everyone found the energy for the final push through to Weston Super Mere to the picturesque finish on the pier as the sun went down.
The elation at finishing can be seen in the photos below - just a wonderful day with a fantastic group (special mention to our superb support team).
Fish and Chips on the pier never tasted so good.
One for the Bucket List.