WJL’s Contracts Fire Door Installation Manager Iain Ward is setting out on a bike ride from London to France in aid of JOCA, a charity who promotes mental well-being across the rugby community.

Along with a group of friends (Neo Combarro, Simon Banks, Stephen Griffin, Tim Lenaerts, Christian Peake, Rob Gardiner, Rob Muggridge) Iain will be setting off for a 350 mile ride to be completed in only 4 days. There are 10 in the team, 8 riders and 2 support drivers. Of the 8 riders, 4 are experienced and 4 are novice / beginners. 

“I am the latter!”

They are starting at 10:30am on thr 13th September from West Byfleet. This will take them gently down to Newhaven where they will take the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe. On day 2, they will be departing from Dieppe ferry terminal at approximately 5am for a nice long ride to Caen. Day 3 will be from Caen to Laval, and day 4 is from Laval to Nantes.

“If day 2 didn’t kill us then day 3 will!”

In total, the team will be cycling 350 miles with some 10,000 feet of climbing along the way.

“This will be my biggest challenge yet and am certainly not relishing the prospect of cycling 85 miles plus in a day and then getting up and doing it again for a further 3 days. This is nothing compared to the pain of Mental Health issues.”

The charity they are raising funds for was set up following the tragic loss of three young playing members at Welwyn Rugby Club through suicide. Today, the charity is dedicated to promoting and ensuring pastoral care and general well-being for all members of their club.

“Aaron ‘Tiff’ Bugden was one of these lads who we (the riders) went to university with and was a much loved member of the rugby fraternity. After university, Tiff went on to be a solid member of Welwyn rugby club.”

The team have not ridden together as a group previous to this ride so this could bring on a number of challenges. Iain has described his main challenges going into the ride; fitness, stamina, time to train, and not having a road bike. Other challenges he mentioned are overall distance, elevation gains, consecutive daily rising, and the heat in France – set to rise to the high 20s as they’re on their journey.

“I am looking forward to great views from the top of hills, downhills and the swimming pool in the hotel at Nantes.”

Iain signed up for this ride following his successful cycle from Hatfield University to Brighton last year. In order to raise money again this year, they felt that the challenge needed to be a little stronger. A ride to Nantes in France seemed like the perfect answer! Please take your time and give whatever you can to this fantastic and worthwhile cause.

“I have seen the benefits of this charity and what they can offer. It is a great cause and whilst we can’t prevent every suicide, we can help to prevent a few.”

Follow the JustGiving link to donate what you can: https://www.justgiving.com/page/tourdetifftock?utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=page%2Ftourdetifftock&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=pfp-share