On Wednesday 18th May a few of our cycling enthusiasts joined our friends at Salesforce and hopped on their bikes ahead of their 3-day cycle from Salesforce Tower in London to the Salesforce offices in Paris, all in aid of the National Autistic Society.
CloudShift were delighted to sponsor the team, with our very own Barbara Clarkson, Rob Oxley and Dan Cattermole representing team CloudShift. After her long journey, Barbara was kind enough to share her wonderful experience and her motivation behind joining the cause:
“In January this year, cycling from London to Paris sounded like a truly magnificent idea. This initial feeling peaked and waned over the course of the next few months as the realities of cycling that distance became apparent but sitting down (albeit gingerly) a few days after the event has ended I can honestly say that it more than surpassed my expectations.
A bit of background – the event was the brainchild of Salesforce’s Dan Ingle who was looking to raise funds and awareness for the National Autistic Society. He contacted three core partner sponsors; CloudShift, Epam/Polsource and Pexlify who helped fund and also added in a couple of team members, plus Coveo, Natterbox and OwnBackup very generously supported the teams on their journey.
So with everything arranged – we still actually had to do the cycle! Rob Oxley and Dan Cattermole filled in the other two spots for team CloudShift and we all rendezvoused at Salesforce Tower, ready to participate in the obligatory photo shoots in the colours of the three teams and set off en masse. Navigating through London took a while and it was a relief to get to Richmond Park and leave the urban jungle behind us.
As we had a ferry to catch at the end of Day 1, we didn’t have the luxury of taking our time, but the English summer came out to play and we had a lovely cycle through the countryside and down to the coast. Dinner at a Hungry Horse that evening felt almost as good as the shower in the connected Travel Lodge because after 140km none of us were particularly interested in fine dining! The novelty of an overnight ferry trip wore off very quickly once the engines started so not much sleep was had by anyone but the adrenaline was surging and not much could dampen the enthusiasm once we disembarked.
Except for the kind of rain which takes approximately 2 minutes to soak you. The first two hours of Day 2 were extremely wet and the coffee shop where we had our first stop had a very unimpressed waitress who didn’t particularly appreciate 32 dripping-wet cyclists in her shop but luckily that was the last we saw of the rain on that day and from that point on it was glorious sunshine, aesthetically pleasing French scenery and fast roads. In short, as generally agreed upon across the board, probably the best days cycling we’ve ever had! 140km felt as easy as I think it ever will – the ice cream breaks definitely helped!
Night 2 saw us in a hotel in Evreux which ticked all the boxes although by that point I could have very comfortably slept on a concrete floor. We celebrated the end of Day 2 with some delicious French wine and discussions of the last 100km to go.
Sometimes the weather predictions are wrong, unfortunately they got it absolutely right for Day 3. We left Evreux as early as we could to try and outrun the weather but we ended up cycling in easily one of the most impressive lightning storms I’ve ever seen. Great when you are under a roof, a little bit scarier when you are in the middle of a wheat field and definitely the tallest thing around. Despite the temperamental weather and a number of punctures along the way, by late afternoon we made it to the Salesforce offices in Paris, conveniently located next to the Eiffel Tower! Once we’d got ourselves looking more respectable for a lovely dinner out, we were met with quite a spread and a champagne toast to celebrate an amazing journey and end to our challenge!
I could carry on for pages and pages and I know that Rob, Dan and I will be happy to share our amazing experience with anyone else who is planning on doing it. Speaking of, our very own Joe Pickin also has the cycling bug and is taking on the London to Paris Bike ride challenge in June to raise money for Astriid, which you can donate to here! I’ve also heard rumours that Rob may be joining him as well, obviously wasn’t enough work for him the first time round!
The whole trip was a resounding success, beyond the personal satisfaction in achieving this goal, we’ve all made connections and friends that will last a lot longer than those three days. We collectively rode 7,680 miles, spent 960 hours in the saddle and perspired 576 litres!
Currently, the team have raised over £26,000 for the National Autistic Society and this number will continue to grow as Salesforce plans to match the final total. We are proud to have raised significant awareness of Autism and the vital work the National Autistic Society does with some amazing reactions to our challenge on social media. Also, the support from the rest of the CloudShift team was fantastic as they took on the challenge to cycle for as long as we were, on stationary bikes in our office!
None of this would have been possible without the support of the sponsors and specifically the support of CloudShift in giving us the time and space to take part.
Here’s to the next one!“
Well done to all those who took part in the challenge and thank you to all those who have supported them and donated to the National Autistic Society. At CloudShift we pride ourselves on our commitment to give back as a founding member of Pledge 1% in the UK and as part of our joint Be Kind ethos with our parent company Globant. We were delighted to support the team, our friends at Salesforce, and this amazing charity by raising funds and awareness of neurodiversity, especially in the workplace. If you’d like to personally donate yourself or find out more about Dan’s story please visit their Just Giving page here.