COAST TO COAST CHALLENGE – WHITEHAVEN TO WHITBY
On 25 July three personnel from RAF Coningsby completed an arduous coast to coast cycle challenge from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Whitby in North Yorkshire.
The epic journey was undertaken to raise awareness and funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. The 158 mile ride was the idea of Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Benjamin Bonner; whose brother is a survivor of Leukaemia. Supporting SAC Bonner were two of his colleagues from RAF Coningsby, SAC Paul Enright and SAC Adam Baguley.
Starting at 6.45, the route took the three intrepid cyclists across the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors. The trail took them up and over the infamous Hardknott Pass, which has gradients in excess of 30 percent along with several unexpected climbs. Throughout the day moods swung and morale fluctuated as they fought their way across country battling torrential downpours and the blazing sun.
SAC Baguley had a puncture during the ride, “I was so annoyed considering how close we were
to the finish but with the use of an energy gel wrapper to fix the split tyre we were back on the road in no time.”
The team had to rely on one another for support by providing encouragement and motivation in order to conquer the harder sections of the journey; Benjamin said, “At one stage I thought, ‘I’m never doing anything like this ever again’, however I’m now thinking about a John O’Groats to Lands End Bike ride next year!”
The team was supported by Bill Enright (Paul’s father) throughout the day, providing much needed replenishment of supplies and encouragement. Bill was impressed by their achievement,
“I was surprised by how quickly they completed the ride and how they came together to overcome the mountains during the day.”
The team were riding for 12 hours 10 minutes, the addition of food and rest stops meant they arrived in Whitby at 22:40, unfortunately too late for a planned fish and chip supper! However, their disappointment was soon replaced by the satisfaction in what they had achieved.
SAC Enright, “I think I speak for all of us in saying that we are incredibly proud to have completed this challenge and, more importantly, knowing we raised over £1100 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. We would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who sponsored and supported us.”
PHOTOGRAPH: From left, SAC Adam Baguley, SAC Ben Bonner, and SAC Paul Enright