On Wednesday 12th June 2019 a team of 30 excited and nervous riders set off on an epic cycle challenge from Darent Valley Hospital to Amsterdam. With overnight stops in Calais in France, Bruges in Belgium and Breda in Holland, the Team arrived in front of the RUKS Museum in the centre of Amsterdam at around 5pm on Saturday 15th June.

Ride4Life 2019 is raising funds for two projects at the Hospital: 

1. To purchase new equipment, an incubator and all the monitoring and life supporting equipment to support a precious new life, as we look to expand and upgrade our Special Care Baby Unit

2. To purchase a 3D mammography, a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer

The Team cycling jersey's were kindly sponsored by Artic Building Services Ltd, who also put forward 2 riders; Charlotte Pinder and Lee Rumble.

To add to an already extremely tough challenge, throw in the torrential downpours, and road conditions that induced over 30 punctures over the 4 days, the Team were delighted to hit the £50,000 target whilst on the ride to keep spirits high. The sponsorship deadline isn't until 16th July so we are hoping to have exceeded it by some way when all the outstanding pledges come in. You can sponsor the Team here:


Photographed: Becca Law - Neonatal Nurse and Charlotte Pinder from Artic.

Here is how they got on:

Wednesday 12th June

07:00 And we’re off! The Ride4life cycle challenge is underway. Today 73 miles from Darent Valley Hospital (DVH) to Calais.

Photographed: The Ride4Life Team at Darent Valley Hospital about to set off.

11:45 Now for a spot of lunch at the Chequers Inn in Doddington. After a dry morning it is just beginning to spit.

Photographed: Some of the Team enjoying their lunch.

18:49 A huge well done to all the Ride4life Team for making it in one piece to Dover. We got drenched this afternoon, and the road conditions and the hills were relentless. 8 punctures and minus one bike due to a collision (all parties are fine, bike is not) we are now trying to warm up on the Ferry and all dreaming of a hot shower and dry clothes! Roll on Calais and our hotel.

Photographed: The Team wait for the Ferry in a soggy Dover.

Thursday 13th June

08:30 Day 2 - off to a soggy start, and 4 punctures in the first 10 miles. We are now enjoying a spot of sunshine at our first snack stop 20 miles in to our 83 miles to Bruges. Hoorah!

Photographed: First Team snack stop in France.

12:30 Lunch stop. We did a whole section without it raining, hoorah! 5 punctures later and a delicious 3 course lunch, spirits are high. Rain is due on the route but we hope it will be kind to us. We say goodbye to France and pass over into Belgium just after we set off from lunch.

Photographed: Team lunch at Les Jardins de L'Haezepoel.

15:30 We are in Bruges! We have made it safely to Belgium and completed the 83 miles of day 2. Despite a lovely dry afternoon, some of us caught the torrential downpour which made us as wet as all the rain we saw yesterday. Thankfully we were so close to our hotel and a warm shower.

Photographed: Some of the wet ones who caught the downpour into Bruges.

Our route took us past some WWI trenches and museum which a number of us visited and were very humbled.

We are enjoying a lively evening despite our weariness, and are not trying to think about the 91 miles to Breda in Holland tomorrow, or the weather!

Phtographed: Dinner in Bruges, Ross Copley, Dr Shane Delamont, Graham Ahkin and Greg Tippett.

Friday 14th June

08:00 Day 3 - We have just departed on the ferry to Vlissingen. We left the cobbled streets of Bruges (our behinds were pleased) and started off in a peloton on cycle routes by waterways. Just to ensure we weren’t enjoying ourselves too much, the heavens opened again and we all got drenched.

Photographed: Tania Yates and Derek George riding the cobbles.

10:30 Whilst shivering waiting for the ferry, blue sky has now broken through and everyone is trying to dry out and recharge for a dry afternoon (we hope!)

Photographed: The Team drying off on the ferry to Vlissingen.

11:00 After the ferry some of us took advantage of the sun and sat with a coffee to start to dry out. We then set off on a long section, beautiful coastal views and cycle paths.

14:00 We were all very glad to finally arrive for lunch to refuel as we were starting to flag. We are currently at 50 miles (5 of which were on the ferry). Just 46 miles till hotel in Breda!

Photographed: Jen from Discover Adventure ticking off the riders as they arrive at the snack stop.

17:00 End of day 3 - We arrive in Breda. most of us have cycled further today than we have ever cycled in one day (91miles excluding the ferry). It was really tough and we had to dig deep. The sun shone which was long over due, but this gave us a chance to realise all the aches and pains we had, and worry about sunburn!

Photographed: Dan Martin capturing his fellow riders.

Someone had a fall (bit sore but all ok), and we have now gone through Discover Adventures box of 30 (!) inner tubes. More have now arrived.

Photographed: Howard Woodcock efficiently sorting out a puncture.

According to the forecast we have a long wet day ahead of us tomorrow, but we have made it this far, everyone has had their own personal battles, but we will all make it to Amsterdam tomorrow!

Photographed: Riki Phillips, Discover Adventure ride leader with Grahame Green on his Dad's 70 year old bike.

We have had a fantastic boost to know that our generous supporters have helped us reach the £50,000 mark. Thank you! It makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday 15th June

08:00 Day 4 - last day in the saddle. We set off from Breda reluctantly to black clouds and an expected soaking, and with an increasing number of aches and pains. However, we seemed to stay relatively dry and took the numerous punctures in good humour, and were able to enjoy the experience of the 2 mini ferries, one at 15 miles, and the other at 37 miles to get us to our lunch stop.

Photographed: Becca Law's capturing a number of her Team mates on the ferry ride (L-R) Matther Haselden, Carl Grahm, Stuart Mowart, Michael Gilhooly, Greg Tippett, Janet Twine and Graham Ahkin.

11:30 We are all sitting at lunch exchanging woes, but there is electricity in the air. It is really beginning to sink in that in 40 miles we will have completed the challenge, and the personal journey each individual has had to get here is inspirational.

Photographed: Team lunch after the second small ferry ride.

With full tummies we are now on for the final push.

Photographed: Riders Greg Hook, Steve McKelvey and Charlotte Pinder cycling alongside the Dutch waterways.

17:00 We regroup in a park on the outskirts of Amsterdam and peleton it into the centre of Amsterdam.

Photographed: The Team gather on the outskirts of Amsterdam ready for the final push to our finish line in central Amsterdam.

Photographed: Rider Mark Goodes captures the Team as we peleton through Amsterdam's cycle paths.

18:00 We’ve done it! Wow, what an experience. Everyone has really pushed themselves to the limit. The challenge itself was tough, but throw in the rain and the 30+ punctures, and everyone somehow managed to keep going.

Photographed: the Ride4Life Team outside the RUKS Museum in central Amsterdam having cycled 334 miles and raised over £50,000.

It has been a tough but an emotional few days, with everyone pulling together to keep each other going.

Now to toast our success with a lovely evening and medal ceremony.

Thank you for all the support. You have really kept us all going!

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View our article at Kent Online.

To see more photos and videos from the ride please visit the Valley Hospital Charity Facebook album.

For more information about future events please visit our events page.