Steve Rowan (Edwards Wildman's Deputy Chief Operating Officer & Head of Practice Development) and I started our epic cycle ride this morning in style: bacon butties and coffee in the Lloyd's building, a briefing from the ride organisers, a photo shoot (the glamour, darling!) and cheering as we headed off...straight into the London traffic.
By lunch time, our group of intrepid explorers had suffered punctures, two riders had been clipped by vans (no riders were hurt in this experiment), one unlucky lady had a peddle fall off and a rear gear cable come loose. And Steve had several goes at losing his shoes. (Don't ask.)
But no matter: we're lucky enough to have two support vans and a motor cycle out-rider. So punctures were fixed in no time - I repaired mine, and a van turned up within minutes to collect my rubbish and give me a face wipe for my tired and furrowed brow. Peddles were reaffixed, gears were adjusted and all was well.
We've heard some great stories on the way too. One, in particular: Barclays Corporate Bank has almost 20 riders out. Most of them are new to cycling. They bought their bikes in May, they've trained together and they're riding together. Some of them have already drafted their e-bay adverts so they can sell their bikes at ride's end. Chapeau, guys. Chapeau.
The ride finished this evening at a naval base. We've had dinner in the officers mess, and we're drinking in the base's bar. Excellent.
Tomorrow might be a different story, mind you. We're on an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. It leaves at 10pm. If we want breakfast, we have to be in the queue by 5.45am CET (4.45am BST). I started feeling pretty sleep deprived. Tomorrow may be worse. At least it's for a good cause. The Wooden Spoon rep who shows us off this morning explained that one's of the things they're going to do with the money we're raising is buy a sensory play area for a children's hospice.
Today's ride: 86.97 miles
Today's climbing: 1,235 meters
Day 2 update to follow...