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After six months’ of bake sales, pub quizzes and many hours training for a big challenge, the Bright Purple team are proud to say that we raised £1,300 for Shelter Scotland.

The main event was of course the Borders Cycle Challenge. Read on to get our managing director’s take on the day. Hindsight is 20/20, and for our next challenge we might focus more on the training and less on the bake sales!

Bright and Early

Arriving bright and early, each of us with our corporate t-shirts (purple of course) and passion to prove to colleagues back at the office that we are fitter than we (in some cases) look!

Charity Cycle Team

The other participants arrived looking like the reserve team for Team GB and only short of Dave Brailsford and his marginal gains. They eagerly munched on bacon rolls and talked about doing 100 miles in 3.5 hours! I began to wish I’d trained a bit harder and that my brilliant mountain bike has wheels that didn’t look like I’d borrowed them from a monster truck.

The Team

To be honest we were a little out of sync with our fellow participants, with Sarah and her mountain bike that weighs the same as an aircraft carrier, my super-sized wheels and Amy Duncan riding a bike that looked to be her prize 13th birthday gift – it was an incredible example of the bike pages from the 1986 Grattan catalogue. In fact when Amy twisted the handlebar to change gear her iPhone tuned to BBC2 in black and white! Amy appeared to be dressed for a walk in the snow, complete with walking jacket and scarf whilst her partner Fraser was more akin to the Bradley Wiggins army on the other breakfast tables (at least he was in our team!). At every mention of fast times and being great Kane’s eyes lit up. Jemma and husband Paul Brown were reassuringly telling tales of how they had trained and they looked like they could be on for top times. Where we were very in sync with everyone else was the passion and fun that raised cheers and high fives at the news that the event had raised £12,000 for Scotland’s homeless. There shouldn’t be blogs about homelessness in 2017!

On yer bike!

Off we went and stayed together as a team of seven for nearly 4 miles before stringing out. I was bringing up the rear with Sarah when we suddenly caught Fraser and Amy who was suffering with a terrible baggy chain that had doubled in length as she pedaled the 1986 classic. Quick repairs and we were off again.

As we continued through chocolate box villages and hills that would challenge mountain goats the ability to follow the signs dwindled. Sarah and I were convinced we were dead-set last and after a 3 mile climb to a summit (lung collapse mountain), where the mobile first aid man assured us we were in the right direction, we followed the road for about 8 miles to Earlston, a quaint little village that turned out not to be on the route! A quick call to race control and we were off and running (no chance!) for another 8 miles to find the course at Greenlaw via Gordon.

No sign of fellow riders at this point.

Until! The race organiser from Shelter Amanda Donaldson, Amy and Fraser appeared! – we weren’t last….

Then faced with a dilemma of going over a ‘hill’ or following the river to Duns, Fraser decided following the river would be ‘a bit too Lord of the Rings’ and off we set over the ‘hill’. We cycled 300 yards before many cries of ‘oh flip’ or similar rhetoric echoed across the fields!

Up, Up and please take me away!

After an incredible climb and a decent that was up there with bungee jumping on my list of thrills – imagine 3 miles downhill with Lewis Hamilton then imagine just being on a bike – we all arrived in Duns about 50 miles into a ride that was meant to be 50 miles in total, and we were told we had reached 36 miles. The best ever sparkling water and Mars bars were served and off we went again. Fraser, Amy and Amanda disappeared into the distance and Sarah and I were surely last again…. But no… just as we had to cross the A1 (really!) and we were about 8 miles from the finish, Kane Webster suddenly appeared. With a cut on his arm, slightly dirty clothes and great stories about Jemma and Paul Brown (the missing piece of the story so far). It turned out that back around 5 miles in, Kane had gone off ahead at a pace. A pace that was too quick for the corner that took him and his bike to ground causing a cut arm, and bruised ego I’m sure. Undeterred, he was back on and took a wrong turn onto the 100 miles course where a kind race organiser turned him back and he found Jemma and Paul coming towards him. Kane told them to turn round but Jemma was pretty adamant that her and her husband should celebrate his birthday by continuing on. Kane described stories of how Jemma and Paul were getting divorced on hill climbs and loves young dream on the freewheel sections. It was quite surreal that we ended up finishing with Kane, a real case of the tortoises and the hare.

The End….

I have never enjoyed chips as much as I did with 4 of the other 6 members of the team at the end as we waited for a search party to recover Paul and Jemma Brown from where ever their detour had taken them. We waited and waited but nothing. Then as I wandered outside to put my bag in the car I heard the sound of 2 bikes speeding into the car park and there they were! The final 2 Team Bright Purple heroes. They didn’t need rescuing after all, although they thought they did (maybe the RAC could try this tactic). They finished covering the best part of 80 miles, in fact we all did somewhere between 65 and 80 miles.

It wasn’t as planned, it certainly wasn’t easy and we are all in need of rubber rings to sit on today, but it was great fun and we helped to raise a huge total for a fantastic charity and cause. 

This blog is just a ramble through what was a great day in the lives of relatively fortunate people. I’m proud of what we did. Jemma, Paul, Fraser, Amy, Sarah and Kane you are brilliant! The Bright Purple business should be proud of the funds we raised!

The pain in our muscles and joints is surely nothing compared to the hardship of being homeless and in poverty!

Thanks to Shelter Scotland, Amanda Collins, Amanda Donaldson, Graeme Browne and Halfords, Kirkcaldy, for the donation of water bottles for our team.


/Paul Curry, Managing Director

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