Thursday, 21 October 2021

Boys cycle to Paris in five days

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy from Kingwood Common has become one of the youngest people in the country

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy from Kingwood Common has become one of the youngest people in the country to cycle to Paris.

Finn Colin, of Colmore Lane, rode the 218 miles from Moulsford to the French capital so that he arrived on his birthday five days later.

He was joined on the ride by his father David and two school friends, Sam Webber and Lucas Marsh, both 12, and their fathers. The men each cycled two-thirds of the way as they shared the driving of a support car.

The boys, who are all keen on sport and play rugby for Moulsford Preparatory School, were raising money for the Goedgedacht Trust, which helps impoverished children in rural areas of South Africa.

They cycled for up to six hours a day, stopping only for food and drink. They slept overnight in a cabin on the ferry across the Channel and in hotels in France.

On the first the day they rode to Basingstoke before being driven home to sleep overnight and the next day they continued on to Portsmouth, where they caught the ferry to Le Havre.

They reached Le Neubourg and Rolleboise in northern France on the third and fourth days respectively before arriving at the Eiffel Tower on the final day. Finn, who lives with his father, mother Josie and sisters Izzy, 16, and Scarlett, 14, said: “The first few days were all right but the ride became very hard halfway through the fourth day and the last couple of days were very tough.

“There was some very cool scenery. We rode through Versailles and in Paris we saw all the sights, including the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. It was an amazing feeling to reach the finish and made us forget about all the pain.

“We were all really excited but we didn’t realise what a big achievement it was until the fourth day of the challenge.”

Mr Colin, 44, said: “We had a lot of rain on the third and fourth days and some of the traffic while we were still in England was difficult. We didn’t stop very often, just to make sure the boys were drinking enough and give them sweets and flapjacks.

“We didn’t have time to stop for hours at a time as we were trying to avoid the rain and keep going pretty much all day.

“It was a hard ride for the boys but compared with a 44-year-old they didn’t have any aches and pains! The next day I was aching and I’d only completed two-thirds of the ride.

“I asked Finn on the following Monday if his legs were okay and he asked what from! He was bouncing around already.”

The boys, who have so far raised more than £2,100, will also be part of a school rugby team touring South Africa and Swaziland this summer.

As well as playing matches, they will be helping to build a “Noah’s ark” playground and raising funds for the Goedgedacht Trust’s “path out of poverty” project.

Finn, who is a member of Henley Triathlon Club, said: “We decided to do the ride as we were asked to raise money for the rugby tour by putting in some miles. We got a bit extreme and ended up doing loads!

“I was amazed when I heard we had reached our target of £2,000. Now we want to do another ride next year, going to Paris again and then carrying on.”

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