A COSMIC journey
By Dan Cash
26 March 2014
One sunny Thursday evening in September last year the team delivering the Wellcome Collection Development Project (WCDP) gathered for a drink. It was then that the idea of riding from London to Paris was floated, through a mild red wine haze and not without some underlying competitiveness.
This was early in the construction phases of the project and the main contractor Overbury had recently been appointed to work alongside a design team comprising the Wellcome Trust’s own project managers, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, AKTII, Turner & Townsend, Emergent AV and Max Fordham.
From this initial seed the idea grew and on 20th March a team of fifteen keen (and not so keen, some having only started riding 8 weeks previously) cyclists gathered at Wellcome Trust HQ on Euston Road. This first leg of the journey would take us to Dover – day one of what would be a three day ride to raise money for the charity COSMIC. I represented Max Fordham on this first leg before heading back to London due to other project commitments - leaving the others to head onwards to Calais.
London 2 Paris by bike in 3 days
The weather on this first day was some distance from that balmy evening when the idea was conceived. Thankfully dry but cold, we were buffeted by strong crosswinds which were persistent for the whole 80 miles. The ride to Dover was fairly flat with the odd climb. Coffee and lunch stops at Gravesend and Faversham respectively allowed the team to meet up with the support van (which was often slightly AWOL - enjoying a mosey in the countryside for the day). These breaks allowed us to fill up water bottles and top up jersey pockets with Haribo and jelly babies.
The group stayed together throughout what was an extremely enjoyable day and finished at 6 o’clock at the Dover dockside. With aching legs I wished the others well and retired back to London.
I’ve been told day two was a fairly brutal affair with a ferry crossing at 4am to be met by driving rain in the North of France. Unfortunately a railway level crossing saw five team members end up in a pile-up and a fractured shoulder which meant one rider had to pull out. After this the weather cleared and the team arrived at their second stop in Amiens at 8pm. No serious injuries on day three meant thirteen riders gathered for a photoshoot at the Eiffel Tower.
Having ridden the first day I can appreciate how the early starts on the next two days must have taken their toll and it’s a great achievement for the team, especially those new to cycling.To date £14,000 has been raised for COSMIC (Children Of St Mary's Intensive Care). The charity was founded in 1994 to raise money for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, which now treats around 500 desperately sick children every year.
If you would like to donate money or learn more about their work please visit the link http://www.justgiving.com/teams/wellcome
Dan Cash is an Engineer at Max Fordham