In 2014, Cornwall Air Ambulance were looking for charitable support and Ben and Sean were organising a London to Paris charity cycle ride. Ben and Sean had just sat through the presentation outlining the charity’s plans.
After the presentation, the two made their way to a local pub for further discussion. Resulting in the very first ‘Ben and Sean's Excellent Adventure’. During July and August in 2015, for eleven and a half days, Sean Holland and Lance "Benny" Goodman rode their bikes for a ruthless 1,000 miles in a loop around northern France. Roscoff in Brittany to Paris and return via the Loire Valley to Roscoff. Two blokes, two bikes and two panniers each. That was it. No support vehicle.
Since the 2015 ride, both Benny and Sean had lost friends due to mental health issues. Five of their friends had taken their own lives. Sadly, these heartbreaking events are not isolated. Earlier in 2017, another adventure was planned, this time to raise awareness and much needed funding for the Samaritans. They were therefore going to ‘Ride for five’.
This was a journey of 1500kms over at least 12 days in august 2017. It took on 4 mountain stages of the Tour de France and was 5 epic climbs, 76,000 feet in total - more than twice the height aircraft fly. The journey started in Chartres, south west of Paris, and headed down towards the Alps via Grenoble. The dynamic duo cycled up 3 legendary climbs of the region. After the Alps the journey they continued down to Provence and Mont Ventoux.
It was planned as a challenge, this time with a support vehicle to enable a professional photographer to come along and record the trip. It was a little more ambitious in scope than the last time, adding in an underestimation of just how high the Alpine routes can be.
Sean and Benny faced temperatures of over 35 degrees on many days. The steep ascents took them to the limits of personal endurance. On ascending Mont Ventoux for the second time, Benny stopped with 500 metres to go due to breathlessness and chest pain. With hindsight, that should have put an end to the ascent but he carried on to the top. Upon return to the UK it was discovered that he had a small heart attack. The serious point of learning is that chest pain should never be ignored!
That did prove to be the last ascent for Benny while Sean continued to complete the full 1,500kms. Nonetheless, the target for raising funds for the Samaritans was reached and then surpassed. To continue the fundraising, a book of poetry and pictures will be published to raise more money.
Sebastian Wood, Managing Director of nexpay said that ‘we were incredibly proud to support Ben and Sean throughout their adventure raising awareness of mental health and the Samaritans who are an excellent charity. Well done guys, your hard work has paid off!’
The just giving page is still open for anyone willing to contribute: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/benandsean2