Cycling for charity: London to Paris

February 6, 2013 , by DREAMS, Leave your thoughts
Cycling for charity: London to Paris » My Dreams Mag
A group of young Nepalese cycled from London to Paris to raise money for charity. Some of the team members recollect their experiences from their trip of a lifetime. 

Seven cyclists, five days, 310 miles.

In an effort to raise money for charity, six Nepalese youth and a Turkish national cycled from London to Paris. The seven-member cycling enthusiasts raised about £2,100 for Grassroots Movement in Nepal (GMIN), a non-profit focusing on bringing sustainable social and environmental changes in Nepal.

The cycling trip that started from Big Ben and ended at the Eiffel Tower was an initiative to ride for raising funds for education in Nepal.

The Dreams Team asked three of the seven members about their motivation for the trip and the memories they now have of the journey.

Name:  Siddartha Gurung
Profession: Security Supervisor, Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Age: 22
From: London

When a GMIN member approached me for a charity cycling trip, the first thing I did was researched about the non-profit. After finding more about its background and what it stood for, I was fully motivated to do something for a cause. GMIN was focusing on the educational empowerment in Nepal and I believe that education in every child’s rights. It is by educating them that we can solve the country’s socio-economic problems.

Last year I participated in a cross-country cycling from London Bridge to Bournemouth Pier for charity – it was for the Gurkha Welfare Society. But I hadn’t really done something like this.

I love cycling and go biking during my free time. For this charity ride, I was training about three days a week, covering 25 to 30 miles.

If I were to pick one of the most memorable moments, it would be our third day cycling route – Avenue Verte in France was beautiful. It was also a mix of good weather, smooth roads and friendly French people that created the perfect environment.

The route was very scenic: vast open fields with low-peak mountains, free flowing streams, rivers and castles. There were also cows, goats, sheep and chicken grazing around. It very much reminded me of Nepal.

When we reached Paris, standing in front of the Eifel Tower was a great feeling; all my fatigue and stress instantly vanished. There was a sense of achievement, and I felt we could achieve anything if we set our minds to do so.

While we were posing for photos in front of the Eifel Tower and celebrating our achievement, some of the elderly French people joined in our victory. They were having a picnic, and they just invited us to join them. It was nice of them to offer us homemade wine, cheese and bread. We spent 45 minutes with them regardless of the fact that none of them spoke English. It was memorable.

Before embarking on this ride, I was a little nervous to do this trip. None of the six members in the trip could speak French, and we didn’t have a medical crew or any back up. None of us had also covered such a long distance on our bikes.

Looking back now, the entire journey was a great experience. We all were equally focused and motivated to raise support for a cause.

I think as young Nepalese, we have certain duties and responsibilities toward our motherland. So we all should do whatever we can, in our own little ways, and even a little more.

Full Name: Sushant Gurung
Age: 22
Occupation: Bartender – Holiday Inn Hotel
From: Basingstoke

I wanted to cycle for charity before but I had missed an opportunity then. So this was a good chance to do that for a good cause. I thought I had to get into the action. As my father always told me, “In life its a two way system, you give and you shall receive.”

This cycling trip was a first of its kind for me. Before this trip, I was an inexperienced biker – I didn’t bike a lot before. So obviously I didn’t have much practise. But I did work out in the gym, which I must say helped me a little.

If I have to recall the experience, it was just a great one. Of everything, I particularly remember the beautiful sceneries from the trip. Meeting new people and experiencing the French way of life are also some of the things I cherish. It’s definitely been the best experience of my life so far.

But before leaving for the journey, I have to say I was a little nervous thinking about the miles we had to cover. Meanwhile, I was pretty excited to be doing this.

So when we reached Paris, it was a feeling of relief, happiness and also sadness. I was relieved and happy because we had accomplished our goal; it was sad because our journey had come to an end. I wasn’t ready to return to London yet.

But now I am back, I have tons of memorable moments. It’s hard to pick the best moment through. I think it was a proud moment when we stood in front of the Eifel Tower for a photo opportunity. It just showed that with dedication and hard work, we can accomplish anything.

I feel gutted that it’s all over, but I am also proud that I have accomplished it.

I hope we can do something similar next year and go for another adventure in the near future.

I just felt doing something for charity was something of a step forward for me in terms of becoming a better person. Also it’s good to be known among your friends and family for doing something.

We all have some kind of responsibility towards our country – some people feel more and others less. But I think it’s just a matter of time that we all realise that; some realise it earlier and some just don’t realise it at all.

The main reason I did this trip is because I just felt I wanted to give something back to my country. Just to say I am from Nepal is something I feel proud about but actually doing something for the country and the people there something is a much bigger achievement. My family have always been willing to give and I just wanted to be a part of something much bigger than myself.


Full Name: Pratik Tamang
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
From: Bournemouth

The first thing that motivated me to go on this trip was the charity purpose. GMIN’s endeavours in Nepal are truly inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it. Also, cycling to France poised a great challenge that I couldn’t resist.

Before this trip, I only used my bike for casual use. I couldn’t train much due to my university and work commitments. But I did take some time to practise and train four to six weeks prior to the event. It was my first time participating in such a huge event.

While leaving London, I was nervous and excited. The first day was the hardest — we had a lot of punctures along the way. At times I felt there would be more hurdles, but we took it slow: one mile at a time.

The journey had lots of exciting moments. The 50-kilometre stretch from Dieppe to Forge-les-Eaux (Avenue Verte) was by far the best cycling route. The abandoned railway route was a great experience, the houses and animals along the route reminded us Nepal.

Once we reached Paris, it was a great sense of accomplishment. Still to this day, I think back and cannot believe I actually cycled to Paris.

Overall, it was one of those trips that we will never forget. All of us stuck together; as novice cyclists everyone was very supportive and helpful. It was a great opportunity to raise funds and help develop rural Nepal. If given the chance, will do it all over again.

Photo: GMIN UK

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