What do you have planned for your annual leave this summer? Cocktails on the beach? A city break? Or an epic fundraising cycle across France? Ros and Richard opted for the latter this summer.

1563km cycled from St Malo to Nice in 13 days. 15,960m climbed (BTW, that's more than double the height of Mt Everest!) Over £17250 raised for 9 awesome charities (including Trekstock!). Not your average summer holiday. But that's how Ros and Richard decided to spend their vacay. 

The £1,092 (and counting...) raised for Trekstock by this daring pair is nothing short of incredible. Fundraising like this is so vital for us to keep supporting people in their 20s or 30s living with and beyond cancer by providing programmes that improve the quality of life of people in their 20s or 30s with cancer. Programmes like RENEW exercise help build strength, improve confidence and connect people while they're going through treatment and beyond.

Friends of Trekstock Ros and Richard have been keen cyclists for over 20 years, getting into the sport after being inspired by friends fundraising for charity. One long distance cycle sounds impressive, right? Cycling legend Richard told us he's taken part in 18 very special charity rides over the years, including cycling from Berlin to London, following as near as possible to the train lines used for the Kinder Transport in 1938

France end to end

But this summer, the duo took on the iconic Manche to Med cycle, cycling France end to end, covering 1500km in 13 days. Together with 5 other friends (making up a cycling group of 11 people total), our cycling pair signed up to this mighty challenge back in 2020. Like everyone else's plans that year, the challenge was postponed. Finally, on the 26th June, this determined group were able to set off on the journey of a lifetime. 

Picture the scene: France's stunning natural landscapes, weather conditions ranging from pouring rain to scorching heat and 10 hours of cycling a day. On one of the most challenging days, the group tackled 150km in 11 hours, with an elevation of 1700m and one hill lasting a whopping 23km.


Over the course of the route, Richard scribbled away on a blog full of cycling top tips, lessons learned and some hilarious stories. We were lucky enough to read's Richard's journal. Here's some of our favourite parts:

Most of the usual rules of cycling seem to be playing out: The uphill efforts always seem longer than the downs; The wind is always in your face and never at your back; It’s too hot when you’re climbing and too cool on the descent; The higher you climb the better the view; There’s never enough time for a side trip; and on a trip of this length, good quality cycling shorts are essential.  

We are now in an area of lavender fields, vines and olive trees. Cicadas are the constant background noise and it’s windy which makes cycling tricky when it’s a cross wind. But it also fills the air with the waft of lavender. 

We now all have the classic cyclists’ tan – super dark arms and knees, reddish brown noses, sock marks and glove marks and pale patches around the eyes. It’s not very attractive but it’s a badge of honour in these parts. 

I have been thinking about the capacity of the body to cope. The distances, the heat and the climbing are taking their toll and everyone feels tired and some are taking breaks in the van but for the most part, the body is saying yes to what it’s asked to do, although tomorrow is another tough day. 

This was one hell of a hill and made me think some more about how to approach a hefty climb in the heat: plenty of water; good music and headphones on before you start; drop into a low gear and a comfortable cadence and don’t push too hard in the early stages; try to stay in the shade for as long as possible; and focus on the view you’ll get from the top once you get there. 

Everyone has become fitter on this ride. Hills which seemed tough early on would now be easy and descending long windy roads is less nerve wracking.

Those of you who know me well will find this difficult to believe, but on this trip I really learned to pace myself and I didn’t get tempted into chasing after Eli or Karen (except on a couple of occasions when it was just irresistible) and I focussed on being able to reach the end, not some interim Pyrrhic victory. And I enjoyed it all the more for taking my time and not trying to do more than was sensible, especially in the heat. 

I spend much of my working day seated in front of a computer. For the last two weeks, I have been sitting on a very small seat, in front of a very small computer, which has been guiding me on my journey, whilst rotating my legs like a demented hamster on a wheel and having a wonderful time. 

You know the climbs are serious when supporters of the Tour and other rides have written words of encouragement all over the road.

Ros and Richard: legend status awarded!

From everyone at Trekstock, we want to say a HUGE thank you and well done to this fantastic cycling duo. An incredible achievement and a shed load of cash raised for us alongside a bunch of other super cool charities. If you want to find out more about their adventure or donate to the journey, check out their page on Givewheel!

Individual fundraisers like Ros and Richard make such a huge difference to the work we do. If you're inspired and want to take on your own challenge - whether it's cycling, climbing, or something else - check out what's on or get in touch with your own awesome idea.