LADs Cycle From Cardiff To Paris For Charity And End Up £2k Down When Their Bikes Get Stolen
A broken chain, dodgy handle bars and two stolen bikes - just three of the things that went wrong during an epic charity bike ride from Cardiff to Paris.
Brave bikers David Morgan, Luke Dawson, both 34, and Darran Maisey, 33, hatched a plan to cover the 300 miles between the Welsh and French capitals - with no training - all in the name of charity.
What could go wrong? Everything apparently.
The ambitious LADs were raising money for Cancer Research UK but in turn ended up forking out £2,000 of their own money to pay for all the disasters they encountered.
The group took on the impressive feat - which they left themselves around a week to prepare for - with a road bike, a hybrid and a mountain bike. Safe to say things went metaphorically and literally downhill from there on out.
Morgan, a computer programmer, told LADbible: "We'd not done any training and completely underestimated the difficulties or trying to cycle so far in 24 hours.
"We cycled to the Cardiff train station and walking through the station my back wheel fell off. I then discovered I left the wheel skewer for my turbo trainer on the bike. So lucky this didn't come off on the way to the station as we were hitting speeds over 20mph."
Not the best start.
Arriving in London by train at 7am, the lads tried to find a bike shop to buy the part they needed in order to fix the wheel before making the trip to Newhaven Ferry Port.
David went on: "When we got of the train in London, and I kid you not - Luke's handle bars come off. He had an Allen key set to sort it out and they fell apart in his hand. Allen keys all over the place.
"Cycling through London, the busy roads weren't too bad and we started banking some miles until the chain came off the mountain bike. Darran put his chain back on and off we go. Until it came off again about a mile later but it looked screwed we thought the trip was over already."
After finding another bike repair shop, they were back on the road once again. Until they lost each other.
David explained: "The mountain bike was struggling and we could see each other thinking 'what have we actually signed up for?'
"Back on the flat roads, we were starting to pick up the pace. I look over my shoulder and the other two are gone. I stopped to wait and 20 minutes later I still can't see them. A few phone calls later we, discover we've all gone in opposite directions to each other and we're separated for about an hour.
"At this point we're about 10 hours in to the ride, clearly we're struggling, plenty of silence between us and its getting darker and we know we have to get to the ferry sharpish or risk missing it.
"We get closer and my cleat breaks on my shoe effectively making me cycle one footed, then the second one broke. To say it felt uncomfortable is an understatement."
Surely the ride couldn't possibly get any worse? Wrong. The bikes were then robbed after they docked in Dieppe.
David said: "We were 13 miles from our hotel and thought we'd stop for a refuel and freshen up. We locked the bikes up, ate, came back and two of the bloody bikes had been stolen. They'd cut through our locks.
"Emotions were a roller coaster. I couldn't help but laugh at how badly everything had gone so far. After a long walk to the hostel, I changed my shoes and the only ones I had were boat shoes - completely unsuitable for the walk, so I'm picking up blisters along the way."
At this stage, said David, the only thing keeping them going was knowing it was all being done to raise money for charity.
Our three musketeers - tired and slightly broken - finally made it to the Eiffel Tower. But they couldn't get home.
David added: "Now we've got one bike, so we tried to book the Eurostar home and there was no availability for a bike. What on earth do we do now? We phoned Parcelforce, who couldn't pick the bike up until Monday - and it was only Thursday.
"We phoned Flybe, who said if we can put the bike in a bag they will board it for 50 euros. Deal. Flights booked for the next day.
"Then another obstacle; how do we get the bike to the airport? We risked it and ordered an Uber but the bike wouldn't fit in the boot."
Of course it wouldn't.
"So it had to go on the lap with the boys in the back," David explained.
"We collectively worked out what this trip cost and we tipped over £2,000 - which includes the cost of the bikes, which the insurance have already refused to pay out for since we discovered we weren't insured for cover outside the UK.
"The £2,000 is gone and we won't be getting that back - and putting it down to another life experience. Anything that's raised for charity, we're strictly letting them have it."
How would David sum up the calamitous trip? "Hilarity, pain, disbelief, but one hell of an experience."
Fair play to them.
If you want to donate to the charity fund - and why would you not - you can do it here.
Featured Image Credit: LADbible