Stewart Watson, who lives in Gloucestershire, recently completed the Global Adventure London to Paris bike ride, and in doing so has raised almost £2,700 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Stewart, who is Group Property & Development Manager at Thwaites, decided to undertake the challenge on the Fund’s behalf as his son Sam is recently passed officer training and is currently stationed at RAF Cosford. Both Stewart and Sam have both been heavily involved with the 2267SQ Air Cadets at RAF Brize Norton and Stewart was previously Treasurer with the Civilian Committee.
Covering a distance of 311 miles over four days, the route starts in Croydon and takes cyclists through Kent to Dover before crossing the Channel to Calais. Once on French soil, cyclists wind through quiet country lanes and market towns in Northern France, passing the war memorials and cemeteries of the Somme along the way. Finally the route reaches Paris, passing the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysées before finishing at the iconic Eiffel Tower.
The challenge started on the 24th July, coinciding with the heatwave that struck much of Europe late in the month. With temperatures on the third day of the event reportedly reaching highs of 44°C-48°C in North West France, many riders were suffering from heat exhaustion. In fact, the event organisers considered cancelling day three on health & safety grounds, but it was agreed that cyclists could instead start at 4:30am to avoid some of the day’s heat.
Upon completing the challenge, Stewart said: “The only way I can describe it is by comparing it to cycling in a sauna while someone blows a hot hairdryer in your face for 50 miles.
"But although it was tough, it truly was an adventure. I had the privilege to meet and ride with some amazing people along the way from all corners of the world - Chile and Australia to name just two – all while raising money for a very worthy cause."
If you'd like to support Stewart’s fundraising efforts, you can donate via his JustGiving page.