July 2nd 2018
One month ago, we were introduced to England rugby legend, Lawrence Dallaglio. Just three weeks later, on June 3rd, we strapped on our helmets and pulled on our brightest socks to cycle across Northern Italy with the big man himself. It’s been a bit mad really.
As it turns out, Lawrence shares our two-wheeled obsession, and since hanging up his boots has launched Dallaglio RugbyWorks - an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, that has raised millions to get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.
The cornerstone to the fundraising effort is the Dallaglio Cycle Slam - an annual three week cycling challenge, taken on by 200 riders, all raising funds to support young people. This year’s challenge takes on the French & Swiss Alps, Italian lakes and the stunning Slovenian & Croatian countryside, in one epic ride covering a total of 1,800km in 18 days. You can check out more details here.
As we were chatting to Lawrence, the conversation turned to Buzzbike and our ambition of making it easy for people to start cycling in cities. We all agreed that cycling was vital from a health, environment and congestion perspective…
Two cold beers later, and we were invited to join the Cycle Slam. Naturally, we took aim at the hardest stage of the lot, stage 2. In a moment of questionable sanity, Andy (who spends most weekends halfway up a mountain on his bike) promised to take on the challenge on his single-speed Buzzbike. That’s 400 miles and a total of 9,129 meters of climbing up mountains, all on a bike built for cruising around town. No amount of lycra was going to make that easier!
To give you an idea of the size of this challenge, since agreeing to this, reactions have ranged from “seriously?” to “you’re crazy”.
We started at Lake Como on Sunday and split into teams of 10 for the weeks riding. Andy, true to his word rolled out on the Buzzbike to much confusion and friendly banter from our fellow riders, many of whom had been training all year for this mammoth challenge. We’re proud to say that crazily (he is something of a bike nut), fueled by adrenalin and lots of fine Italian coffee he didn’t just complete the 95km ride he was the first rider up the 1600 meters of mountain climbing. Go Buzzbike!
Over the remaining 4 days, we completed 400 miles of cycling, taking on some epic mountains and nearly 10,000 meters of climbing through spectacular landscape, as we made our way across to Udine by Thursday. The 200 riders were an amazing mix of sporting greats (Lawrence was joined by fellow England rugby legend Austin Healey and two-times-world-Iron-Man-champion Chris McCormack), as well as celebrities including charming former Wham member Andrew Ridgeley, who completed all three weeks and even did 1 day on a Brompton!
Whether you were a first time road cyclist or a sporting great, the trip was personified by a complete lack of ego and 100% support and togetherness to reach the top of each mountain. Each rider was unified and motivated by the knowledge we were riding for an amazing cause (and to avoid the daily post-dinner fines handed out by the big man). This week, the three weeks of riding came to an end in Croatia. Their efforts have raised over £1m for teenagers and young people. Amazing.
We are super proud to have been involved in this amazing adventure for such a good cause, and are already looking forward to the Cycle Slam in 2020. In the meantime, look out for an announcement very soon of how Buzzbike and its members will be supporting this incredible charity every day for the next 12 months…
Tom and Andy
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