Hayling to Holland
Sunday 8th April 2012 to Saturday 14th July 2012
Funds raised: £35,585
Number of riders: 116
2012: Holland To Hayling Charity Cycle Ride – Wet But Fun !
As one rider put it … great ride, it’s just a pity you didn’t organise it in the summer!!
Over the years our annual ride has had varying weather from outrageous heat waves to cold and wet. But this was beyond anything previously experienced, with daily monsoon heavy rain coupled with arctic like temperatures. The biggest medical risk in 2012 was hypothermia rather than sun stroke. And then there was the wind but of course Holland is flat and the abundance of windmills is a bit of a ” giveaway “ so perhaps this should not have been such a great surprise! But despite all these challenges, it was a great success. The feedback from riders has been very positive and I personally enjoyed it!
Moving the event from France to Holland was always going to be a challenge and involved some significant risks. But generally speaking we pulled it off. One major potential headache was the task of transporting cyclists and their bikes to Harwich for the overnight ferry but this worked remarkably smoothly. Riders had to take off their pedals to facilitate better bike storage but well done to all of them since against all odds they managed to put them back on the right way with no threads being damaged!
Cycling in Holland is different from France. While the latter is quite bike friendly the former is extremely so. There are cycle paths everywhere and when they meet a road, bikes rather than cars have priority. One challenge was that the cycle paths did often depart significantly from the route of any road making it very difficult for support vehicles to follow closely. Nevertheless as always the support team, led superbly once again by Jo Macey, did a great job. Their contribution has been key to this events success over the years.
The route was not surprisingly rather flat! There were a couple of hills (or Dutch Mountains as the route notes described them) but absolutely nothing of note. We did miss the rolling countryside of Northern France but the Dutch landscape was not without variety. On the first day we spent much of the day riding across sand dunes and at other times we cycled through forest and of course alongside many canals and rivers. Water was never far away and during the course of the ride we took no less than 6 ferries. Also one occasion when meeting the Rhine near Rotterdam, we cycled under a river!
The towns we passed through were generally very pretty and well preserved. For me Edam and Delft were particularly attractive. Our night in Amsterdam was good and some of us had the advantage of a guided tour of selected local cafes hosted by rider and former local, Paul Clutterbuck. Paul has written a book “Inside Amsterdam” telling the story of some of the city’s historic cafes (no not that sort of café!) There is real history involved with each of these and almost all are still independently owned. We couldn’t visit all of them during the course of the evening though we did our best.
The Dutch people were unbelievably friendly and with their good command of English, asking the way on the occasions when riders did get lost was pain free. I was with a small group of misplaced pedlars when after having asked a local for direction he got in his car and called out for us to follow him soon leading us to the right route. And I believe there were other similarly kind acts.
In general the overnight stops were well received but the Postillion hotels on Wednesday and Thursday night were really outstanding and in my view possible the best hotels we have had in 27 years of this event. A sumptuous buffet was included on both nights and in Dordrecht it was quite simply outstanding.
On the return ferry as is our custom, we presented various awards. The “Bavent Cup” for the best team when to Team Axiom particularly for their efforts in encouraging some of the newer and younger riders. The “Eberhardt Signs Most Improved Rider” award was richly deserved by Tanya Goodwin . Sue Martin, a former support team member equally merited the “Meryl Browne Award” for her sterling her endeavours as a first time rider while Tom Norton was a worthy winner of the “McQuade Cup” as the most impressive newcomer. Sarah Jeffries who first proposed the idea of Holland to Hayling Ride won the “Reg Beacher Special Award”. Charlie Hardman one of the many good and enthusiastic riders to come from Ditcham Park School was named “Young Rider Of The Year” while the “Value Add Trophy” was awarded to our “cafe expert” Paul Clutterbuck. Jo Macey and Sylvia Randall were deserved winners of the “Judy Dyer Trophy” for the best support team. The “Presidents Cup” for a major contribution by a committee member was jointly won by Tony Hart and Sarah Farmer for their hard work on the new route which was a tremendous task. The “Rear Of The Year Award” went to Yvonne Frampton and the “Cute Butt Of The Year Award” to Colin McAdams.
It is sometime difficult for me to grasp what so many have achieved with this event since 1986. Obviously the money has been key. With this year’ s ride we should exceed a total sum of £1,300,000 and hopefully will approach or exceed £1,500,000 by 2015 our 30th Ride. And this money has now benefitted well over 400 different organisations locally , regionally , nationally and even internationally. But over and above that there has been the fun, friendships , and in many cases a lasting passion for cycling generated by what was originally planned as a one off attempt at doing a charity cycle event . Have you cycle it yet ? If not, why not sign up for our next ride. Whatever the weather you will enjoy it and do some good !