T3 ("Tower-to-Tower") Cycling Challenge
Guy's Hospital Tower to the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
Sunday 30th May 2021
The day dawned all too early for 16 Penguins (combined age over 850)
with 2 Black Rats in support, to undertake what was initially billed as
an 82 mile (subsequently turning out to be 99 mile) gentle cycle
ride from Guy’s Tower, London Bridge to the Spinnaker Tower,
Portsmouth, finishing at Portsmouth RFC.
The starting lycra line-up, 08h00 Sunday 30th May,
Guy's Tower, London Bridge
As seems common with PAC events there was significant variation in participants’: body size and shape, degree of preparation, suitability of equipment and clothing, initial enthusiasm and competence level. At 8 bells the Penguins shuffled haphazardly into 3 groups and set off, Jackasses leading followed by Chinstraps and Macaronis, quite rightly, to the rear. A few perfunctory comments regarding anti-chafing measures and lycra products rapidly gave way to reminiscing over glorious student life in the 20th century sans internet, mobile phones, apps and COVID, and when a beer in Guy’s bar cost 46 pence per pint.
The route, exquisitely planned by Trevor, took in many of London’s sights, a number of parks, an unopposed river crossing, a sumptuous lunch at the Star Inn, Witley and the superb hospitality of the God Save the Bean café. Much of the journey was flattish, with some downhill. There was also some significant uphill which sorted the weighty and powerfully built, from the lissom and clean limbed. The hill at South Harting (renamed South Hurting by the mesomorphs) provoked a number of curt Anglo-Saxon comments. Helpful advice such as ‘just keep going’ and ‘you should have got more gears on your bike’ from the sylphlike were not all well received.
Eventually the Penguin Peloton, which to be fair was built for comfort and not for speed, reached Portsmouth. We were welcomed by enthusiastic crowds both at the Spinnaker Tower and at Portsmouth RFC before undertaking some much needed electrolyte replenishment. There were remarkably few adverse incidents: 1 puncture, no mechanical catastrophes, no major collisions, much ribald banter, some discomfort and a self-managed medical issue.
The T3 Challenge has raised over £29,000 (including Gift Aid) for the Fergus Scholefield Cancer Research Fund. This included a very generous donation from The Kirkham Foundation.
The Penguin Peloton would like to sincerely thank Sasha and Tony Smith (The Black Rats road team), Paul and Lu Palmer for sponsoring the cycle shirts, John Spandley (owner of God Save the Bean), Charlie Spedding for organising lunch, Portsmouth RFC and of course Guy’s Hospital RFC for its unwavering support.
The Penguin Peloton:
Alan, Ben, Charlie x2, Darren, Geraint, Graham, Greg, Jamie, Jez, John, Nigel, Pat, Pete, Trevor, Wayne
The Black Rats:
Sasha and Tony
Charlie Beardmore, PAC President
The safe arrival of the complete Penguin Peloton at the Portsmouth Spinnaker tower, 99 gruelling miles later.