September is always a month for reflection on the summer season, what went well, what changed, what could we have done better? This got me thinking about what’s been happening recently in Polka Dot in terms of the types of trips we are running.
Polka Dot Bespoke Charity Rides
We’ve seen quite a bit of change over the last few years and I think that’s common with small businesses like ours, we need to keep changing and evolving as the cycling world out there changes. We’ve found that as well as our training camps and holidays we are also now getting quite a lot more demand for corporate charity events. I guess cycling really is the new golf! This summer has seen us involved in a number of corporate charity rides. Two very notable ones were the London to Zurich ride for Julius Baer Private Bank and for the second year running (for us) the Fireflies ride set-up by Ridley Scott films.
Julius Baer Charity Ride
Start point St Paul’s Cathedral steps…what a send off! The initial 21 strong team of riders leaving the office at St Martin’s Le Grand certainly had a challenging week ahead, riding to their office in Zurich; 1000kms, 8500m+ of climbing, 5 countries in 8 days including a Tour de France climb. Some of them had only just started riding 5 months before! Having helped them with some preparation and training ideas before the start line they quickly settled into it the rhythm of back to back days.
Quite a few hadn’t ridden in groups before and with some flat stages ahead of us we helped them learn to ride safely and efficiently, ticking the kms away whilst being able to chat to colleagues, some of which had never met before. Everyone on the ride was incredibly gutsy and refused to give up. Even on the 2nd day when they arrived late at the hotel, spirits were high and this carried them through the week. Day by day there was a great sense of cooperation in the group and everyone encouraged each other to get up the Ballon d’Alsace in the Vosges….see the picture at the top as proof!
They had colleagues join them from Luxembourg and Switzerland en-route and each time new members joined they were quickly helped by the others with the new group riding styles and integrated into the group by everyone’s welcoming style.
The last day had even more riders join us from the Zurich office and we swelled to 60. That was quite a logistical day for the guide team, but as usual Hugh, Gav and Joe all took in their stride. An amazing trip and for three very worthy causes; Clic Sargent (children’s cancer charity), Qhubeka (getting South Africans onto bikes) & the Shaw Mind Foundation (mental health charity for all). They raised in excess of £100,000!! So not only a great accomplishment in the saddle, amazing fund raising too. We felt very honoured to have been the ones to take them on this journey.
The Fireflies charity ride has been running for 18 years! Set-up by Ridley Scott films (aka Alien, Bladerunner etc) to help the charity Bloodwise fight blood cancer. It’s massively grown over the years. The riders from across the globe, all come from different companies in the advertising film industry, so not quite ‘Alien’ but think big car ads!
Usually each year they ride from Geneva to Cannes over the Alps and climbs made famous by the Tour de France. It’s an epic week of riding, normally 1000km nd 25000m of climbing over 8 days(!). You can see why their moto is ‘For those who suffer we ride’.
This was our second year of involvement and it was equally an honour to facilitate this ride again. It’s very humbling to hear stories of why and for whom everyone is riding. The Fireflies have a spirit like nothing we have seen before with people who often don’ know each other at the starts of the ride, going back down climbs to help those new to the ride and everyone not giving up. It’s quite an emotional roller coaster at times.
We feel very privileged to be doing this trip again in 2019 and we hear on the grape vine that the starting point might be in a different place next year….watch this space!
If you have a charity ride in mind you can always pop over to our website and see what we’ve done in the past both for companies and groups of friends to get some ideas. Polka Dot Bespoke Trips.
Trips for Summer 2019
As well as reflecting we have also been planning!
We want to make sure we have some good trips for you all next summer and so we’ve just announced our first trip for summer 2019; Italian Dolomites & Stelvio taking in the majestic Giro climbs of the Dolomites and all three ways up the Stelvio, not in one day though you’ll be pleased to hear. We’ve also listened to your requests and made this a 2 centre trip (with one transition night) so you have more time to relax and less packing/unpacking!
Next month we are going to have a look at what everyone has been up to this summer. We’d love to hear from you if we haven’t already and let us know if you are happy for us to a do small bit about your cycling summer.
All the best
Jen & Stu