May 13 2015

Connect Plus ‘Brussels 2 Amsterdam’ charity cycle ride

For 2015 the Connect Plus team decided that its charity cycling challenge would be held over the 3-day May Bank Holiday and consist of a 320 mile journey from Brussels, north through Holland to the Afsluitdijk, a 20 mile long man-made causeway across the North Sea, and finally on to the finish line in Amsterdam.

On Friday 1st May 17 riders from Connect Plus, Highways England, CONJECT and other suppliers together with a support team of four guys and two vehicles set out from two meeting points in Leatherhead and South Mimms. The support vehicles made their way to Folkestone and the Channel Tunnel whilst the rest of us headed to Brussels via Eurostar from St Pancras.


Day 1 – Off to a good start

Day 1 was a 112 mile ride from Brussels across the border into Holland to a town called Oss. We rode in pleasant weather and enjoyed a slight tailwind with the flat terrain making the riding as comfortable as 112 miles can be on a narrow saddle.

The Route

320 Miles to go

Day 2 – Rain and punctured tyres

Following an evening sampling the local beer the team set out on Day 2 with the promise of rain sometime during the 105 mile leg to Emmeloord in Northern Holland. We weren’t disappointed and the rain began shortly after lunch and remained with us, through 2 punctures, until we reached our destination shortly after 6pm on Sunday evening.

CONJECT Team taking a break

The CONJECT team take a well–earned break from the saddle during Day 2

Day 3 – Afsluitdijk Causeway – 20 miles across the North Sea

Day 3 and the rain had been blown away by a keen wind that would become a real hindrance when we turned to cross the Afsluitdijk and subsequently make our way down to Amsterdam. We set out not really knowing what to expect and then encountered our first sighting of the causeway from a distance during our first break. In the distance we could see lorries rolling across this narrow strip of Afsluitdijk Causewayroad in the North Sea.

16 mph head winds for the whole of the 20 mile crossing made for a challenging ride and an experience not to be forgotten. This left another 45 miles into a cross/head wind as we made our way to Amsterdam to enjoy a night of reliving the 320 mile journey. All riders safely survived the experience.


Supporting Prostate Cancer UK

As always the Connect Plus rides are undertaken by cyclists of varying abilities for a very worthy cause. This year the chosen charity was Prostate Cancer UK (http://prostatecanceruk.org/) who fight to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life.

So far the team have raised more than £2,000 for this charity but it would be great if we can increase this. Anyone wishing to support this vent can still do so by visiting our Just Giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/CPB2A/)

I’d like to thank Chris Richardson and the guys at Connect Plus for an excellently organised event and also thank the support team for giving up their weekend to drive across Europe.


What’s next – 160 miles in one day?

With this experience under our belts the CONJECT contingent is now considering the next challenge of the year. Currently under discussion is a 160 mile ride from our Nottingham office to our Woking office. The aim being to complete this in one day……this might prove to be a little ambitious.

About the author

Duncan Kneller

Duncan Kneller is director of sales at Conject. He joined the company in 2000 and quickly established himself as a key sales and account manager, before taking on the sales director role in 2011. Duncan has also spearheaded the company's cycling fund-raising events in recent years.

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