February 2011 charity_tandem_1
PR manager cycles across three countries in three weeks to raise funds for Charity

When she’s not raising awareness of the UCLH Charity, PR manager Rachel Wilcox is busy raising funds! During the summer of 2010 she teamed up with husband Stephen to ride a tandem across France.

The duo raised £1,100 for the Charity by cycling 1,151 miles, crossing three countries in three weeks and climbing a total of 19,500 feet – higher than Kilimanjaro!

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"We originally thought that doing a ride across France to the Spanish border above Port Bou would be less taxing than doing Land´s End to John O’Groats, because both the weather and food would be better" says Rachel. "Well the food bit was right, but most of the time the weather was cool, cloudy and occasionally downright wet. And when we arrived at the Spanish border, we were nearly blown off the tandem by gale-force winds!"

Husband Stephen dubbed their journey the NAtMed tandem as it started at the North Sea in Belgium, crossed northern France to the Atlantic at Noirmoutier and ended up at the Mediterranean. Aptly enough, the crossword fanatic realised it was also an anagram of the tandem they were riding!

The couple were lucky to have a few sunny days and four days off to rest their weary muscles during the trip. And they were rewarded with some stunning views.

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"Climbing up from the Seine valley on one of the hottest days was really hard work, but we felt a real sense of achievement once we’d done it" says Rachel. "The aqueducts carrying canal towpaths over swiftly flowing rivers were spectacular, but not the sort of thing that two people who dislike heights particularly relished! However, the cuckoos, skylarks and herons were a joy and so was the smell of the honeysuckle by the side of the road."

If you’d like to discover more about Rachel and Stephen’s fundraising bike ride, you can read their blog at www.ffortissimo.org.uk

To find out how you could organise a sponsored event for UCLH Charity, or to support an existing event, please click here.