On the bright and sunny morning of Sunday 15th September, 14 members of the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children (LTCFC) Cycle Team assembled on Clapham Common to take part in the 2019 Skyline London to Brighton Cycle Ride.
The team comprising:- LTCFC Committee Members Colin Greaves, Steve Bell and Paul Barber, taxi driver Keith Oates and supporting team members Joe Bainborough, Steve Church, Adie Church, Daryl Bradford, Ben Bradford, Mark Tamuta, Martin Bell, Jack Oates, Calum Oates and Nicholas Day waited at the start point in The Avenue on Clapham Common in anticipation of a test of stamina and endurance over the 55 mile course.
After months of training in preparation for the event, there was a sense of nervous excitement and trepidation as the group set off together across the start line at 8 o’clock on a glorious Sunday morning.
A steady start through Balham, Tooting and Mitcham opened out into the quieter and more serine roads and hills of Carlshalton and Banstead.
The first water stop at the 17 mile mark at Mercers Country Park was a chance for the LTCFC riders to regroup and take on a little more fluid.
The sun was still shining and everyone seemed a little more relaxed and appeared to be enjoying the day.
So far no punctures, mechanical problems or incidents to report and all the ‘more mature bodies’ within the group seemed to be holding up well – perhaps testament to some decent training programs.
With re-hydration complete, Suburban London was behind us and we could now enjoy the leafy undulating lanes of Surrey and Sussex.
Next up was the mile-long climb to Nutfield village followed by the long ride to the lunch stop at the 33 mile mark.
This route climbed and descended in a series of rolling hills, crossed the M23, skirted around Redhill Aerodrome and passed through numerous picturesque rural villages.
The brief well-earned lunch stop at Tulley’s Farm was another chance for the LTCFC team to regroup and prepare for the finest scenery of the route and the toughest challenge of the ride to Brighton.
As we continued to head south, we passed through lush Sussex countryside and past picture postcard villages like Lindfield and Ardingly.
All the time we were gradually descending to the foot of the infamous Ditchling Beacon. This particular climb is 1.5 miles long with an average gradient of 8% and had sections up to 15%. The toughest part of the day was upon us and congratulations go out to Adie Church, Mark Tamuta and Steve Bell, for making it all the way up Ditchling Beacon without stopping – a tremendous effort by the 3 of them, very well done!
The Ditchling Beacon climb was followed by the scenic descent into Brighton itself and before we knew it, there we were heading for the finish line along the Brighton seafront.
By 1pm we were all through the finish line and happily stretched out on the grass embankment by Brighton Marina with a well-earned glass of our drink of choice.
The Committee Members of the LTCFC would like to pass on their sincere thanks and gratitude to all the members of the LTCFC London to Brighton Cycle Team.
This has been a major commitment for all those involved and we thank them for investing the time and effort in their training programs and fundraising activities.
The Committee Members would also like to pass on their sincere thanks to all the donors and sponsors who have supported the fundraising efforts of our LTCFC Cycle Team and have contributed to the financial success of this fundraising event.
We have raised in excess of £8000 towards the cost of the next LTCFC Mad Hatters Tea Party, which will be held in January 2020 and will give 600 disadvantaged and special needs children a magnificent party they will never forget.