Cabinet Maker reports on The Furniture Makers’ Company’s epic 450+ mile charity cycle ride from London to Bordeaux.
Ready, steady, go. sheriff christine rigden waves the cyclist off
Picture the scene, it’s Sunday morning in London, you’ve just popped out to get a coffee and copies of the day’s papers when out of the corner of your eye you spot a group of twenty two lycra-clad, bike-clutching individuals congregating for photographs and a last minute pep talk.
No, there was no candid camera, for this was the latest fundraising activity undertaken by members and supporters of The Furniture Makers’ Company in aid of the industry’s charity. Far from a jolly Sunday morning cycle in the park, the team took their places on Sunday 11 September at the Guildhall in the City of London, for the start of a 450-mile journey taking them from London to Bordeaux.
Organised and led by Ben Burbidge, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company the fundraising cyclists set off at at 8am, crossing the Thames via Southwark Bridge and catching glimpses of The Shard. Their route took them through the Surrey Hills and Guildford, after which the cyclists made their way into into the South Downs National Park, passing through Petersfield and into Meon Valley. At Cobham the team took another Sustrans route, which allowed them to avoid busy on route to Portsmouth, where they finished day one by embarking on a ferry to St Malo for the start of day two.
The second leg of the journey took riders through St Malo along the coastline and past the fishing port of Cancale, before crossing Mont-St-Michel and the Cote d’Emeraude and reaching Combourg in the afternoon. From here they took the quiet country lanes toward Chateabourg where they finished day two.
Day three began as the team negotiated the outskirts of the city of Rennes before passing through a number of small towns and villages on their way to half-way point Chateaubriant. They then headed towards Nantes, before spending six dayssix days pedalling an average of 80 miles a day, passing through Nantes, La Rochelle and Royan, to reach their end destination on Friday 16 September.
The group were given a heroes welcome by friends, family, fellow Furniture Makers and Anne-Marie Cazalet, a representative of the Mayor of Bordeaux, at Place des Quinconces, Bordeaux. Their efforts and those of the frineds an family who donated raised a fantastic £58,000 for the industry’s charity. Master Ben Burbidge said: “I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored us, including the companies that funded our team cycling jersey. We have been flooded with congratulatory messages and well wishes. It was an amazing trip which, despite a few sore legs, we were all thrilled to be a part of. I’m incredibly impressed by the courage and determination of everyone who participated.
“The money raised will go a long way to helping The Furniture Makers’ Company achieve its aims of educating young talent for the future, driving excellence and helping people who have fallen on tough times.”
The companies that sponsored the team cycling jersey are Axminster Tools & Machinery, B&Q, Blum, the British Furniture Manufacturers Association, Burbidge Kitchens, CD UK, Cabinet Maker, Celtheath Contract Furniture, Designer Contracts, Ercol, Furniture Village, KI, Knoll, Lectra, Rotadex, Silentnight and Tangent Furniture.