Radiant Riders cycle London to Paris!

Note to reader: Despite the trip originally being planned as just a challenge for us all, we later decided it would be a great opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile charity. If you would like to sponsor us we are raising money for Calais Kitchen, who work in refugee camps in Calais and feed over 9,000 refugees in Calais and Dunkirk daily. Thank you.

Having conquered lots of short rides in East London (usually finishing in a good pub for a well earned drink), the Radiant Riders started to think about something more challenging…and the classic cycle from London to Paris was the one that captured our imagination. Nine members signed up and the planning and training began, with a decision to follow a scenic 340km route over four days. We did plenty of training rides, learning useful things along the way, like the fact Essex is lovely, and it’s pretty hilly on the way to Brighton. A few members of the group hadn’t ridden since they were about 15 and so new bikes and learning how to maintain them suddenly became more important!

Then two weeks before D-Day disaster struck. Stef was hit by a car door when cycling home and ended up with a broken wrist – very sadly she had to pull out. (Get Well Soon Stef!)

So eight ladies set off for Paris, leaving in a range of groups, meeting up in the lovely village of Lindfield to start our journey proper.

radiant-riders-at-the-beginning-of-the-journey

After a pleasant 35mile ride through beautiful Sussex we made it down to the coast for the HUGE ferry to France!

massive-ferry-fun-times

We started our time in France as we meant to go on : with delicious things. After bakery products and coffee we set off on our 35 miles of the Avenue Vert – an old railway line converted to a lovely cycle path – nice and flat!!

After a relaxing lunch it was time for the hills to begin! At least hills=views

hills-equal-views

Upon arrival at our overnight stop, celebratory drinks were in order!!

celebratory-drinks

The second day in France was more rolling hills. The spectacular views just about made up for the pain of pedaling up them. And then we arrived at our accommodation for the evening – a chateau!!!

chateaux

After relaxing on the terrace and a eating a delicious home cooked dinner (made by the owner, not us) we retired to bed at about 9.20pm (rock and roll!).

Final day!! We set off for the final 40 miles in high spirits, knowing most of the route was through beautiful forests and we’d be in Paris for dinner.

Minor disaster with a detour for Kathryn off of a dual carriageway and Karen experiencing the only puncture of the trip, but these didn’t hold us up for long and we were soon on our way again.

We stopped to enjoy French bread, cheese and salami in an uber picnic in the genteel gardens of Versaille, before pushing on for the final stretch to the Eiffel Tower!!

versaille

As we started our final descent we turned a corner and caught our first glimpse of the city, and moments later the Eiffel Tower was revealed, standing proudly like a beacon over the rooftops. We paused to squeal and enjoy the magical moment before doing our final weave through the city streets, with the tower getting larger with every pedal stroke.

And then we made it! We were greeted by the lovely Katie and Stef at the Eiffel Tower, waiting with bottles of sparkling wine and medals to congratulate us on completing the route.

eiffel

Cycling through Paris to Gare du Nord to drop off our bikes was an experience but we all survived and made it for dinner involving copious amounts of wine and ALL OF THE CHEESE.

We had a well earned relaxing Sunday in Paris and then a Eurostar journey home with more wine!

Here’s to the next challenge in 2017!!

April Meeting: Games Night!

Board Games GaloreAre you a Player? We all were at the April meeting. The first ever Shoreditch Sisters Games Night gave us ladies a chance to psych each other out during Jenga, scrapple over rent on Park Lane in Monopoly and get wordy (and a little bit dirty) with Bananagrams.

Dirty Bananagrams

No games night would have been complete though without a token board game from Ann Summers – needless to say, it was a popular choice.
Fantasy for Lovers

We normally host exciting speakers who will teach us a skill or share awareness on a campaigns issue. Games night was a great chance for us to settle down with a cup of tea (or something stronger) and have a good chinwag with our fellow sisters.

A big hug of a thank you to everyone who brought their games down to Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club – we’ll see you for our May meeting. Comedian Viv Groskop will be hanging out with us to give us a taste of her Edinburgh Fringe show. Apparently it’s about feminism and the middle classes. You’ve been warned…

Sorry Board Game group

Blog by Tina Edwards for Shoreditch Sisters WI

Knot Just Knitting

Knot Just Natter
The joy of Knot Just Knitting…

What a lovely wee Knit & Natter we had this month?! Huge table of about twenty of us gorged our way through various criss cross chip things, halloumi wraps, cakes, a whole plethora of hot drinks and a few beers. And the nattering was also a veritable smorgasbord of topics: the valley of despair, laser eye surgery and what happens if you don’t pay (they repossess your eyes #fact), tooting and booting knitwear, so-bad-they’re-good dating events and, like that rotten penny which keeps turning up, tinder (“on the road to friendship all conversations lead to tinder” The Dali Lama said that. Don’t google it. Like, I know he said it ok?).

But now without further ado may I please introduce to you our very first President for the Day: some say she dreams in hula hoops, some say she once saved a man by knitting him back to life, some say she can actually see the Matrix. All I know for sure is she is the one, the only:

MS ABBY O MILLWARD!

Abby-Knitting

President for the Day

Hey! So what are you doing there with the things and the needles and the craft?!

This is a sock that I’m really tired of knitting.

Literally just this minute you have ousted our benevolent leader Martha from the top spot and become President of our fine and upstanding branch of the Women’s Institute! Bloody go you. So I know you have organized an absolutely killer main meeting for this month. I hear it’s being held in an amazing new venue. Where is it?

A really old Chateau in the French countryside.

You walk in and we’ve got ourselves a new bar person! Who is it?

My dad, who’s dead, he’d be a shit barman but I’d like to see him.

In your wild exuberance at finally becoming President you order a round of drinks for everyone. What are we getting?!

Normally I’d go for anything with gin but this time as we are in this beautiful Chateau it’s going to be that dusty old bottle at the back of the cellar – you can have your choice of colour.

Oh wait, shut the front door – looks like this party is catered and what a beautiful spread it has! What are we chowing down on?

I’m really into meze at the moment so lots of halloumi and spanakopita and tzaziki. Yum.

You have managed to wangle an absolutely amazing speaker for us. Who is it and what are they chatting about?

Sir Robert Winston is speaking about the science of women’s bodies – hormones and that.

We have a little break and the dessert trolley is being brought round (yeah we have a dessert trolley now) what’s on it?

A trio of apple and ginger crumble, Eton mess and chocolate fondant.

Time for the second half of the meeting and we are learning a new skill! What’s it going to be?

How to make explosives with everyday items from your kitchen like jelly babies and vinegar.

Fab, so glad I can make sh*t explode now. Time for the raffle! OMFG… you only go and WIN! What is it?!

Lifetime supply of yarn!

So it’s coming to the close of a stellar meeting and you’ve got one piece of advice to pass onto the ladies gathered there before you let them go back into the world. What is it?

When it comes to craft and really anything in life if there is something that needs doing: JFDI.

Just do it.

Woah man, that was deep. Thank you so much for sharing your meeting with us. It’s been totes emosh and amazeballs.

The next Knit & Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 14 April. Come along and you too could be discussing tinder!

Blog by Jodie Major for Shoreditch Sisters WI