Prostate Pedallers Blog

Pedallers take on Normandy!


The day was finally upon us! 12 cyclists and a driver woke up to the heat wave that we had been promised. Bags had been packed and bikes prepared for the journey to Portsmouth. It was probably the excitement as all but a few arrived at the ferry port with 4 or 5 hours to go before departure. There is always an exception and this time it was Mike who left his home at 6am for the 100 mile journey down to the South coast. Part of the problem was he was doing the journey on his bike! Maybe a separate blog would be better to cover his journey down (and back evidently) but let’s just say he was late arriving of course. However, a magnificent effort and a huge relief the whole team made it!


So, the group were ready to board for their overnight ferry to Cherbourg. Bikes were secured with ropes and we headed off for a couple of beers before retiring to our cabins.


Before we knew it we were having breakfast and disembarking on our bikes at 8am. Our trusty back up driver, Osca, headed off with our bags with the 12 strong peloton in pursuit. What a feeling to cycle off the ferry on a beautiful French morning! The destination was Utah beach, a 48 mile cycle ride around the coast from Cherbourg.


After various meet ups with Osca for water refuelling and lunch we kept up a good pace and arrived at Utah Beach our first destination at around 4.30pm. Our hotel, Domaine Utah Beach - Le Grand Hard, was about 3 miles inland surrounded by beautiful countryside. The hotel buildings and rooms formed a courtyard and it was simply stunning. We quickly ordered our well deserved beers, sat in the sun, admired our surroundings and discussed the day’s events. Then to a fantastic dinner (what a chef!) before we retired to the library for dessert and to watch the England game (not a highlight!).


Half time presented a perfect opportunity for our first awards ceremony as Charles and Andy gave out rosettes for team members who had contributed daft, ridiculous and great things to our day. Mike, Osca and Jim wore their rosettes with pride (some more than others) while Andy was crowned as 'King' with an inflatable crown for organising the trip. Mark then decided in his infinite wisdom that it should be cabled tied to Andy's helmet and there it stayed throughout the entire trip. It did provide some entertainment as people in cafe's and along the route curtseyed, bowed and shouted 'Le Roi' as we cycled through!


Following a top notch breakfast and a quick photo shoot we were back on our bikes, some a little saddle sore but the adrenalin was running high as our thoughts turned to the next 46 miles. We were now in D-Day beach landings territory and we stopped at the various memorials and sights to read about the heroics of those involved and paid our respects. We were on a fairly tight schedule but still managed an extended stop at Pointe-du-Hoc which is considered to be the number one D-Day site in Normandy.


We cycled down steep hills as we approached Port-en-Bessin and our second hotel, Hotel Le Grand Marine. Fitting 12 bikes in a small outside space at the hotel was a challenge but the Pedallers are resourceful and made it happen. More beers sitting on the quay side in the sun, a quick shower and we were off to dinner at Fleur du Sel, a short stroll from our hotel. More excellent food and plenty of laughs and maybe we outstayed our welcome as we were still drinking there 4 hours later! We still made time for our second awards ceremony and celebrated all things great and bizarre that we had witnessed during our Omaha beach ride that day. Marko, Geoff and Paul looked good with their rosettes pinned to their chests!


Arriving back at our hotel at midnight we were under pressure to get a good nights sleep as our final 30 mile trip was looming closer. Surely our trip wasn’t coming to an end already!? A big hearty breakfast with a few coffees was going to help us get to Ouistreham by 2pm. Our ride took us past Gold, Juno and Sword beaches where we felt the spirit of the heroics of the Canadian and British soldiers that were so brave just 80 years ago. We stood and looked at the beaches and what was achieved. It was hard to imagine what must have been going through their minds as they neared the coastline.


A puncture and a chain snapping was not going to stop us keeping to our itinerary. We had the likes of Paul and Mark (with his extensive tool kit) who were heroic at fixing issues in F1 style and speed! We pushed on, staying together at all times through different villages, towns and terrains. A mixture of cycle paths, roads, single tracks, double tracks and even a beach at one point made for an interesting and varied ride that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The riders, on a mix of bikes including road, mountain and e-bike made the ferry port bang on schedule.


A few more drinks and a surprisingly good meal on the ferry helped the journey back pass quickly. And of course our last awards ceremony afforded another photo shoot opportunity with Charles, Mike and Ivan decorated.


We were sad to be leaving France but we left with amazing memories and 124 miles under our belts. The Prostate Pedaller inaugural trip away was a huge success. The whole crew supported each other and were inspirational. The positivity amongst the group was evident and infectious throughout the trip. Great cycling, great company, great views, great hotels, great food and some great wine and beer - what’s not to like!! There were cries of ‘let’s do it again’ as we left our ship and we most certainly will…!


P.S. A special mention to Sharon at Norton Rosettes who very kindly made and donated the rosettes for us. Thanks so much for your support - you are a star!