Remark! Community staff and trustees convened early in 2018 to discuss fundraising ideas for the coming year. Someone, rather bravely, nominated Head of Community, Jessica Wilde to do a fundraising bike ride from London to Brighton; considering Jessica didn’t even own a bike this suggestion was dismissed as a joke. However, unfortunately for Jessica, this idea just would not go away. She was coerced into agreeing to this monumental challenge which within minutes she had regretted and tried to come up with a convincing excuse.
On February 14th (exactly 4 months and 3 days before the big ride) Jessica’s family surprised her with a brand new bicycle. Now Jessica truly had no excuses not to do the ride. Jessica asked for the receipt as she would be selling the bike as soon as this horrendous experience was over. She managed to recruit 5 other naive Remark! colleagues to join her in her suffering. Davod Jarchlou, Pembe Alp, Ben Bridger, Ela Yilmaz and Jonny Nelson all agreed to join her in this challenge and all, like Jessica had no bikes to ride. With 3 new bikes purchased and 3 clever loans and tonnes of excuses later we finally got all 6 riders to start training by the end of spring 2018.
Two riders did hardly any training – Davod and Ben had more toes than training rides under their belt on the big day. Pembe was definitely the cutest rider by far using a My Little Pony helmet and bike bag for her training but unfortunately she did not bring them to the big day which fast approached before we knew it.
On the big day all 6 of the condemned were shepherded to the start line just before 7am. A couple were ruing the event organisers cruelty for such an early start on a Sunday morning. Before we started our chief motivation officer, Ela Yilmaz, assured us all it was not a race and to “enjoy the ride at a leisurely pace” plus enjoy the views. We would like to remind Ela that if she says it is not a race, you cannot go as fast as you can and scream and cheer that you won the race! Kudos to Pembe for almost keeping up with Ela and arriving a close second behind Ela “Need for Speed” Yilmaz. There were a few technical problems of which mostly was Davod’s dodgy bike, lack of training and lack of fitness. We managed to haul Davod through to the finish line, mostly with the support of Jonny. Although the last 800 metres Davod did attempt a cheeky sprint finish rather than show solidarity and crossing the finish line with his comrade Jonny. The 4 riders greeted our fans and set up a prime location to cheer on Jessica and Ben who were an hour behind. It was not long before they showed up and completed their ride in 6 hours 10 minutes.
6 medals, 12 stiff legs and a couple of bottles of prosecco later we were all in a jubilant mood. We are happy to say we have raised £1,250 and counting. This is soon to be match funded by the Greenwich Rotary club bringing the total to £2,500. Just as a spectacular; Jessica has decided not to sell her bike and Ela has bought a new bike and both plan to take up cycling in the long term.
“Life has a strange way of putting things together. I have found my one true love all because of a random dare/suggestion. I have found my inner peace as a cyclist and look forward to cycling for many more years to come. Well done to all who took part (or according to Ela all who competed) on this day. It was a memorable occasion and one of the best days of my life” Jessica Wilde