Cyclists on the Cycle for Sophie ride from Paris to the Isle of Wight. Picture courtesy of Paul Blackley.
AFTER bad weather, punctures and ferry strikes, a team of Isle of Wight cyclists riding for five-year-old Sophie Rolf, arrived home from Paris, as her parents received news that her brain tumour had responded to the gruelling treatment.
The team's 180-mile cycle, which ended on Saturday, was in aid of the Sophie Rolf fund, KissyPuppy, to help pay for her travel to treatment, equipment she needs, and the occasional treat.
Paul Blackley, the official photographer for the group said: "It was a fantastic trip but the one problem we had was the Brittany ferry strike, we had to drive up to Calais in the end."
The first day of the trip was beset by bad weather, punctures, and heavy traffic, as the team left the starting point at the Eiffel Tower.
Paul said: "It was very demoralising. Driving and cycling through Paris was interesting during rush hour, we were taking our lives into our own hands!
"It was raining, the wind was gusting and they were riding into it. Everyone was going different speeds, they weren't having a good time.
He added: "On the second day however the sun came out and everyone started riding out as a team. It was absolutely brilliant."
After a hasty detour to get the ferry from Calais, the team made it back to Newport only an hour late for their welcoming party at Sydenhams, Newport, where Sophie's parents work.
Sarah Clarke, the only female cyclist in the team said: "The best moment for me was when we were having lunch and got the news about Sophie’s results, it really gave me a boost.
"I feel truly proud of all of us for completing the challenge"
Paul said:"The team were absolutely over the moon when they finished. They all need to be so proud of themselves, and the support crew too."