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ESP’s health & beauty columnist reports back on her tandem cycle ride from the Posh ground to Brussels for the Freekicks Foundation…

You may remember that on May 28th– 31st May I, along with 19  other brave cyclists, took on the challenge of cycling to Brussels for charity (on a tandem!).  Well here I am to tell the tale and I even managed to come back from the 326 mile challenge in one piece.

Day 1 involved us cycling from the Posh Football ground to London via the old A1 in, yes you’ve guessed it, the pouring rain! Although our enthusiasm and excitement seemed to get us through… We arrived at the City of London Travelodge wet, weary and wanting some ‘proper food’ as opposed to jelly babies. The hard work for Day 1 was not over though as Edward and I grappled to fit in the lift with the tandem, but we did it – hurrah!


With an early start on Day 2, we took a Southerly route to Folkestone via Aylesford, Maidestone, Ashford and finally Folkestone.  Not only did the rain continue throughout the second day but we had the added pleasure of LOTS of hills, joy! Later in the day, we managed to split up into three groups leaving four of us without any directions. But we managed to follow the A20 all the way to Folkestone arriving at the Britannia Hotel  in fair time, giving some unsuspecting bingo players quite a sight!

Despite another early morning , where we were faced with a HUGE hill climb and what should have been a simple 10 mile trip from Folkestone to Dover,  we somehow managed to miss our ferryand had to wait for the next one. The 1.5 hour sit down was a welcome break though with everyone happy to give their legs a rest. Once in Calais we cycled to Dunkirk before crossing the border into Belgium and after what seemed like an endless last leg of Day 3,  we made it to Bruges. With no restaurants open nearby, it was up to Domino’s to save the day…


The last day was kind to us with the sun coming out to play and NO RAIN! A leisurely 25 miles from Bruges saw us arrive in the picturesque town of Gent where we deservedly devoured cheese and ham toasties and admired the stunning Gravensteen Castle. After about another 40 miles we had arrived at our destination (via a quick stop at the Atomium on the site of the 1958 Brussels World Fair) – Grande Place Brussels!

For the few days after, this tremendous tandem trip was somewhat of a blur,  but I can definitely say it was an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget.  I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part but especially Edward who was an exceptional tandem captain and I literally couldn’t have done it without him … ‘It takes two baby, it takes two baby, me and you, it just takes two’.

We managed to raise a whopping £15k in total for the Freekicks Foundation which is an outstanding effort! Well done guys and thank you everyone for your support.

Charlotte Jolly


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