Monday, 20 September 2021

Allez, allez, Power Rangers

FOUR former pupils of the Oratory School in Woodcote cycled from London to Paris in less

FOUR former pupils of the Oratory School in Woodcote cycled from London to Paris in less than 24 hours for charity — dressed as the Power Rangers.

Rupert Osborn-Jones, Oliver Stammers, Thomas Knowles and James Marsden, all 27, cycled 193 miles from Marble Arch to the Arc de Triomphe.

Also taking part was Duncan Williams, also 27, a friend of Mr Stammers from university.

The men had planned a route of 155 miles but got lost in France and took several unnecessary diversions. Despite this, they reached their goal just 12 minutes short of the 24-hour mark.

They raised £5,000 for Beating Bowel Cancer, which was double their target.

They were supporting the charity as Mr Osborn-Jones‘s uncle Chris died from the condition.

Mr Osborn-Jones, who grew up in Fawley and whose parents Tim and Anthea still live in the village, said they came up with the idea of the charity ride while drinking at a London pub about two months ago.

The former Upper Thames Rowing Club member said: “It was a panic decision we made when we felt we should be doing something more active with our lives. Only two of us had bikes so the others had to get one as soon as possible.

“We knew it would be tough but we‘re reasonably fit and the point of a charity ride is to challenge yourself. We trained individually in the gym but the only practice we did beforehand was a relatively short ride from London to East Grinstead.“

The men chose to dress as the Power Rangers to increase their chances of publicity.

Mr Osborn-Jones said: “So many other people were doing it that we wanted to ride in ridiculous outfits that wouldn‘t be too cumbersome.

“As it turns out, a onesie gets pretty hot when you‘re cycling such a long distance.“

The group cycled from London to Newhaven in East Sussex, where they caught a ferry to Dieppe and then headed straight for Paris. However, their sat-nav ran out of power within a few hours and they had to follow French road signs, so got lost several times.

Mr Osborn-Jones said: “It was ridiculous — we would overtake people and then catch up with them again a few hours later as we‘d fallen behind.

“Every time we‘d wonder how we‘d managed to go so wrong.

“Paris itself was a logistical nightmare — our phone was nearly dead, the clock was ticking and we were struggling to follow the signs to the Arc de Triomphe. We were so relieved to finish as we‘d taken a lot in donations and didn‘t want to let people down.

“We stayed at the Arc for at least 20 minutes because loads of tourists wanted to take pictures of these morons who‘d cycled in 30 degree heat in onesies.“

In October, the men plan to run 78 miles along the mountainous Great Glen Way in Scotland in three days, also for Beating Bowel Cancer. To sponsor them, visit rangerslondontoparis

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