SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 1, 2007

I DID IT!

Cycling enthusiast Simon Wavell, from Thatcham, Berkshire decided to Get Miles More Out of Life when he took part the London to Paris Bike Ride for The National Autistic Society (NAS) in 2006.

The Get Miles More campaign was launched by the NAS in association with Vodafone to give people the opportunity to undertake new challenges and raise funds to help the estimated two million people in the UK living with autism.

Simon’s youngest son, Oliver, aged nine, was diagnosed with autism when he was three. Simon said: “We noticed quite early on that Oliver didn’t cry much and, as he grew, we were very aware that his speech and language were not developing properly.”

After Oliver received a diagnosis he was given a statement of special education needs and got a place in a special school. Oliver now attends a mainstream school with a full-time learning support advisor.

Simon continued: “We attended a couple of the NAS programmes when we learned how best to help Oliver. It was also really helpful talking to other parents.”

Simon learnt more about the NAS’s Active Challenges when his employer, Vodafone entered into a three-year ‘cause partnership’ with the charity in 2004.

About the ride, Simon said: “The NAS London to Paris Bike Ride was the ideal fund-raising event for me. It gave me the chance to do something that I really enjoyed and give something back in the process. During the event, I cycled with lots of different people. We all preferred different speeds but it was by no means a race and so it was great to stop and chat along the way.

“On the challenge we cycled for a maximum of two hours at any one time, so you need to be sure you can cycle for that amount of time without stopping. During my training, the most I cycled was 30 miles in one go.

“Raising funds wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be. I met my £1,000 target by basically hassling everyone I know!

“I would definitely encourage others who are thinking about taking part in an Active Challenge for the NAS to go for it. You don’t have to be a ‘pro’ to take part. Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. I had such a great experience that I’m going to take part again and this time I’ve roped my brother in!”

THE ROUTE

Day one: Friday, September 28

Crystal Palace to Dieppe 92km


Starting from Crystal Palace in South London the ride leaves the capital via Mitcham and Wallington and is soon onto quiet lanes south of Chipstead, Surrey. Lunch at The Crown on Turners Hill, a familiar watering hole to London to Brighton regulars, is followed by a rural meander towards the pretty Sussex town of Lewes. Having crossed the South Downs the port of Newhaven is reached after 90 kilometres and from here the ferry will transport bikes and riders to Dieppe. It’s just a short 1.7-kilometre ride from the ferry terminal to the hotel for the first night’s stopover.

Day two: Saturday, September 29

Dieppe to Gournay en Bray 87km


It’s straight into perfect cycling country as we ride out of Dieppe with kilometres of tranquil undulating lanes ahead as the ride picks its way south on day two. There will be stops for coffee at Torcy le Grand and lunch in the pretty village of Saint Saens. From Bosque Eveline after 51 kilometres the terrain offers one or two extra challenges but nothing serious as the second hotel of the trip hoves into view at Gournay en Bray. No doubt a glass of wine or two will be raised in the evening to celebrate another great day in the saddle.

Day three: Sunday, September 30

Gournay en Bray to Paris Eiffel Tower 99km


Classic Normandy ‘bocage’ countryside features, with lush fields and high hedgerows criss-crossed by dusty lanes. It’s a Sunday so the roads should not be too busy as the ride gets closer to the Paris suburbs. Lunch will be taken after 70 kilometres and then it’s into the forested Parc aux Etoiles before a long descent to the River Seine. We will enter the city centre through the Bois de Boulogne on the western side and then cruise along wide boulevards to the final destination, the Eiffel Tower. The hotel for night three is only five minutes away and there will be plenty of time to get spruced up for a celebratory meal in a local restaurant.

Day four: Monday, October 1

Paris-London Eurostar


No riding but a superb opportunity to take sightsee before heading home this afternoon.

This is a complex itinerary, copyright of Classic Tours, and is subject to change

ENTRY DETAILS

There is a registration fee of just £99 for the London to Paris Bike Ride but in order to qualify you will also need to raise £1,000 in sponsorship, 80 per cent of which must be submitted 10 weeks prior to the ride. The NAS will supply all the forms and provides help and advice on easy ways to raise funds.

You will need to provide your own bike, clothing and equipment and are responsible for your travel to and from London and personal insurance — everything else is included in the ride package.

Contact:

www.getmilesmore.org.uk

t: 08450 509 001

e: getmilesmore@nas.org.uk

The National Autistic Society,

393 City Road, London, EC1V 1NG

Registered as a charity No. 269425

GET MORE MILES OUT OF LIFE CAMPAIGN

Since 2004 Vodafone has been working in partnership with the NAS to help make a real difference to people affected by autism. Our common concern is communication. Together Vodafone and the NAS have raised nearly £6m and directly helped over a quarter of a million families through a series of key programmes.

Vodafone has also paid for the Get Miles More Out Of Life campaign materials so that more of the money you raise will go to help people directly affected by autism.

WHAT IS AUTISM?

For someone with autism, it is hard to make sense of life. Autism is a lifelong, Developmental disability, affecting children And adults in the way they communicate and relate to those around them. Decisions are difficult, choices are problems and the world can seem a frightening and lonely place. If you would like to know more, visit www.autism.org.uk.