On Saturday The Longest Ride team met at 0730 for another scheduled training ride.
90 miles with a route starting at Stowmarket, looping around at Dereham, Norfolk and returning to Stow.
TESCO’s have kindly sponsored the team for the mammoth 10 day challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) and had given them permission to start their ride from Stowmarket Superstore, allowing a Fire Engine, crewed by Stowmarket Firefighters to park up outside and raise funds for The Firefighters Charity, whilst the team were cycling. Better than that they gave them a nice selection of breakfast options as well as energy bars and drinks to take on the journey.
After the meet, greet and photoshoot it was time for the team to commence their ride, leaving Stow heading North towards East Harling for the first stop at 25 miles, hosted by Laurence, Jo and their 2 delightful boys at Peppers Tea Room
They stopped for a coffee, amazing chocolate brownies, borrowed some tools to tweak a couple of the bikes that had run into a few mechanical issues and were back on their way again.
They headed for the halfway stop, 53 miles in at Dereham Tesco’s Norfolk. This part of the ride didn’t go without issue and a road closure at a level crossing only a few miles after leaving the 1st stop, caused some delay and confusion as the best diversion route to take to get them back on track. Sadly, they literally did get on track, a dirt track in Thetford Forest, not great if you have a road bike!
Once the dirt track and slightly hairy short stint of cycling on the A11 had passed, they arrived at Tesco to be met by their Store Manager and staff along with Norfolk Fire and Rescue’s Dereham Fire Crew.
Again fully fed and watered by Tesco and with the Dereham Fire Crew also collecting in donations for their challenge, it was turning in to a really successful and rewarding day.
The next stage of the training ride took the team from Dereham to South Lopham (75 miles in) where they were kindly hosted by James, landlord of The White Horse, Lopham, sitting outside in the delightful pub garden, the team sipped on soft drinks, thanked James for his hospitality, discovered he was also a Wedding Photographer and blagged some team photos from him.
The final leg of the day was Lopham back to Stowmarket Tesco and with the weather holding out, it had been forecast for a spot of rain and possibly thunder in the afternoon. The team pedalled back into Tesco car park at around 4pm, to again be met by the Stowmarket crew, Tesco staff and by now a good few supporters that had found out about our Charity Ride.
All in all, a wonderfully successful day for The Longest Ride team and more importantly The Firefighters Charity, with some considerable donations coming in throughout the day at both the Stowmarket Super Store and Dereham Extra Store.
The Team would like to wholeheartedly thank both TESCO stores for their sponsorship, welfare and hospitality throughout the day.
Special thanks must also go to Stowmarket (Suffolk Fire and Rescue) and Dereham (Norfolk Fire and Rescue) firefighters for giving up the majority of their Saturday to highlight the epic challenge The Longest Ride team are hoping to achieve, whilst collecting in a great deal of money for The Firefighters Charity.
The challenge is not all about monetary donations, the team are also hoping to raise awareness and reduce the stigma attached to mental health as they cycle 100 miles a day for 10 days from one end of the country to the other.