Toasting at the destination, Parc des Princes stadium, Paris (L-R: Simon Hallett, Dan Purkiss, Ben Cattliff, Rory McLaughlin, Tom Muskett, Sam Biss, Niall Skinner, James Palmowski, Jon Lovell, Ben Wassell and Dan Godfrey.
Huge congratulations and respect to the Chiswick Nine that completed the London to Paris bike ride last weekend. Sam Biss, James Palmowski, Ben Cattliff, Dan Purkiss, Rory McLaughlin, Ben Wassell, Tom Muskett, Niall Skinner and Jon Lovell all completed the 3 day and 289km challenge from Chiswick Rugby club to the historical home of French rugby, Parc des Princes.
The team set off from the clubhouse in the early hours of Wednesday 12th July. The night before had been pretty torrential, which meant Day 1 was a soggy 95km ride from Chiswick to Newhaven ferry port. The boys made great time and were able to squeeze in a beer (or two) in town and then relax on the ferry over to Dieppe ahead of the big challenge, Day 2. This was a brutal 130km ride from Dieppe through Normandy to Sainte-Genevieve, just north of Paris which culminated with a 450 foot climb at the end of the day – “lesser vans would not have made it up that hill” remarks Ben Wassell, which is a good time to thank Chiswick Van Hire (www.chiswickvanhire.co.uk) for their support. They showed great generosity by supplying the van for the ride, which was crucial. At the end of Day 2, the boys were duly greeted by their support team of Dan Godfrey and Simon Hallett who made sure cold beers were on hand upon arrival. Day 3 then left a nice 64km cycle into Paris, as one large, team peloton. A testament to the group’s morale!
“What a trip” our club Social Secretary, Ben Cattliff said “the challenge was tough, but I genuinely had such a great time with the boys. A real laugh and bonding experience by the group, truly helping each other along the way whether that be the boys changing my tyre twice in 500 metre stretch on the 2nd day due to my ‘I ride bikes, don’t fix them’ attitude to literally being dragged up hills when my pace slowed.” Ben continued to praise the organisers, “Fair play to Sam Biss and James Palmowski. I recognise the efforts having organised club tours before, but they nailed all the logistics from the route, stop points, accommodation and even Bissy’s chicken pesto pasta which we became accustomed to at every stop. I can blag it on tour with a different bar, but there was no room for error for them. Well done gents! Even Benny Wassell has a future in Paris fashion with these great cycling tops he designed, that were a homage to Chiswick’s maroon and blue!”
Fully embracing their experience in a white van, with a diet of McDonalds, Sun newspaper on the dashboard and hooting any fairer sex in proximity, the support drivers were a huge help. Their main task, cold Kronenburgs upon arrival to the Parc des Princes (an obvious theme here) which can be seen in the main photo. Simon Hallett commented “I cannot do the boys who took part in the ride justice, with the written word. It is something only those who took part would really appreciate, but it was a great team effort and myself & Godders enjoyed every minute of it. Highlights of our days was crossing paths with the boys on their route.”
Obviously, this is all for the club and a charity close to CRFC’s hearts, the Royal Trinity Hospice where our former coach Rocky Skinner spent his final days bravely fighting cancer. His son, Niall who completed the ride commented“the Royal Trinity Hospice were tracking our progress at every stage and are very proud of what the players and Chiswick RFC achieved on behalf of the Royal Trinity Hospice.”
But can we do more? THERE’S STILL TIME TO DONATE!!!!!!! So please do – Https://www.leetchi.com/c/nonprofit-charity-club-niall-skinner. We have just got over the 50% mark after a slow start, but please help us get to the target and beyond.
Niall continued, “the Hospice wants to leverage the Charity bike ride as a future case study for other fund raising, which is an honour but we really want to raise more for these great causes! The players and Chiswick Rugby club are fast becoming the talk of the Hospice and if it helps the people staying there in any shape or form then this can only be a good thing.” On a personal note Niall and his family wanted to extend their thanks to everyone involved, they continue to be humbled by the players and clubs on-going support which they feel has been unparalleled and only highlights that the rugby fraternity is a brotherhood and in these indecisive times that we live in this is a wonderful example of selfless acts of kindness which go a long way and shall not be forgotten.
The group are already discussing a 2018 ride, so please get in touch with one of the riders if you are interested. South of France, John O’Groats to Lands End and even Boris bikes as far as possible into Europe have so far been mooted…
The riders, just about to set off on Wednesday 12th July in team uniform (L-R: James Palmowski, Dan Purkiss, Niall Skinner, Rory McLaughlin, Ben Wassell, Ben Cattliff, Tom Muskett, Jon Lovell and Sam Biss)
The support riders – Simon Hallett and Dan Godfrey. Huge thanks!
Chiswick gentry in Paris toasting their ride on Bastille day (L-R, Niall Skinner, Rory McLaughlin, Dan Godfrey, James Palmowski, Sam Biss, Ben Cattliff, Tom Muskett, Ben Wassell and Simon Hallett).
Huge thanks to Chiswick Van Hire. They Had our backs (literally).