I write about superyachts, ultra-exclusive coastal homes and luxury travel in my day job so, at first blush, writing about a trip that’s brought me and a passionate group of cyclists from Calais on the shores of the English channel to the gritty town of Roubaix in Northern France may seem a bit out of character.
But the irony is, there may not be a more ‘exclusive’ event leading up to the Monaco Yacht show, simply because the number of royals, A-list celebrities, members of the superyacht community, and companies that have donated significant time, talent and money to help the Blue Marine Foundation continue to grow.
And, as any one of the nearly sixty riders who participated in Day Two of this year’s event can confirm, coming together to ride nearly 700 miles across eight countries in a week is simply magical. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, there’s no better metaphor for using teamwork and courage to overcome big challenges than getting a large group of cyclists of all shapes, sizes, experience and nationalities together to ride for BLUE.
Today was one of those magic days because we not only rode over the hallowed cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, we also battled the crosswinds of the Northern France after riding nearly 100 hilly miles from London the day before. And while it’s pretty tough to top our first day where we Zara and Mike Tindall led our large group out of the Herne Hill Velodrome on Day One.
Finishing Day Two at the 100-year-old velodrome in Roubaix that is hallowed ground to any cyclist who’s watched the classic bike race was very, very cool. The fantastic lunch put on by ride organisers Just Pedal in Roubaix took the sting out of our legs and the showers made the bus transfer to our next hotel in Luxembourg as relaxing as a bus transfer can be.
But it’s the 199 km stage 3 tomorrow that everyone was talking about at the dinner table and on the massage tables. It’s going to be windy. It’s supposed to rain. And hardly any of this year’s riders know what it’s like to ride 199 km with a couple thousand meters of climbing.
And that’s just one of the things that make London to Monaco so great. We’ll all find out just how tough we are—in addition to raising nearly £250,000 for BLUE!
Tomorrow is going to be epic.
Track the riders’ progress here.