29 bikes, 10 different companies, and an endless supply of jelly babies help complete FCBS’ Office to Office bike ride. In our 4th year of the ride, and 115 miles from start to finish, momentum continues to gather around the event, with more riders than ever joining in, including friends of the practice from Buro Happold, Integral Engineering and Stace.
By 6.30 am on the Sunday morning, the sun was beginning to rise, the porridge was on (not burnt this year!), and the coffee was being poured. With the conditions the best they’ve ever been- cool and dry throughout, with a gentle westward wind encouraging us to Bath- we set off at 7am through the eerily quiet streets of London.
There was a brief moment of confusion when we nearly joined the Richmond Park biathlon (!), but we cracked on to pick up a few more team members at the park’s Kingston Gate. The stops soon came and went, with the larger group soon settling into a number of smaller ones that comfortably accommodated everyone’s pace.
A special mention here for FCBS’ Tim Skinner who, keeping the peloton tight, came off his bike between Ascot and Theale. The Man Of Steel quickly got his breath back on the banking, before re mounting and cracking on. Much to the applause of all in the group, and with a scuffed jersey as his badge of honour.
The banana van was a reassuring presence throughout. Holly Mansergh and Steph Sandall, kept the van close to the action, and were always on hand for bananas, jelly babies, crisps and juice. Our huge thanks to them for their support, and for not giving out our supplies by setting up an impromptu children’s picnic on the roadside!
The group’s penultimate stop at Marlborough gave time for tea (more bananas), and reflections on the great journey so far, before the hilliness between there and Bath began. This must have been the toughest test of the day, with steep ascents building up to the top of Box Hill. Such was everyone’s determination to finish at this point that the banana van was largely surplus to requirements, and most ploughed on down the hill and to the finish.
Welcomed by the beautiful views out from this vantage point, and with the sun now firmly in the west, riders began to arrive at FCBS’ Bath Office in their respective groups from around 4.30pm. Tired, but a good tired. A massive thank you here to our Office Manager Tania Hiscox who was on hand to welcome us with cold beers and an industrial quantity of pizza. Both were soon demolished, to leave all riders with satiated hungers, slaked thirsts, and a massive, massive sense of achievement.