For the fourth year, the Climpson’s coffee van followed the epic Blue Marine Foundation charity cycle ride from London to Monaco. All to raise awareness and funds for the Blue Marine Foundation and their ocean conservation projects. Nicole, Denes, Ben and Tatiana were on a mission to support the cyclists with a pop up coffee shop like no other.
The Climpsons embarked on our fourth London 2 Monaco cycling expedition in support of long time charitable partner the Blue Marine Foundation. Blue exists to restore health to the ocean by combating overfishing and destruction of biodiversity by creating marine reserves, establishing new models of sustainable fishing and restoring marine habitats. In just 8 years Blue has helped protect over 4 million square kilometres of ocean - with a goal for at least 30% of the world's oceans to be protected by 2030. A pretty amazing charity to support.
The London 2 Monaco cycle was a 1000km ride over 8 days. Over 60 riders were crazy enough to sign up with the goal to raise funds and awareness for this amazing charity. The target was £250,000 - and at the time of writing this was blown out of the water with a hefty £303,000 having been raised. In combination with a charitable auction event and other sponsorship the total exceeds £1.4million this year alone.
The coffee pop up like no other
The ride itself was a daunting task - 1000km from London to Monaco is no easy feat. The 8 day adventure departed the Olympic Park Velodrome in East London and wound its way through the Netherlands, Belgium and into France via roads made famous by the Tour of Flanders and the Tour de France. Amazing views, famous cols and the reason we were there - a pop up coffee ‘shop’ like no other.
Over the course of 8 days we made over 1000 coffee for 60-80 cyclists and a bunch of brilliant Just Pedal ride leaders. This was a pop up coffee shop on steroids. We had our trusty steed the Conti CC 102 C coffee machine which worked wonders whether we were in a rest stop in the Hook of Holland, canal side making affogatos in Vandenesse-en-Auxois on a 200km day, or in the Alps by the pristine fluro blue near Briancon. After the cyclists took on the challenge up La Bonette at 2802 masl we greeted them with batch brew and a high five.
That little Conti has seen a lot and worked like a dream, even when making coffee at altitude. With the boiler being sealed and not exposed to atmospheric pressure the temperature remained consistent and because the PID is measuring temperature and not pressure we didn't have to worry. What did make more of an impact was the actual air temperature outside at altitude. Whilst we didn't have to do it this trip, we might have had to increase boiler temperature slightly to counteract any effects cold weather might have on the physical group head - which might lead to poor extractions.
The cyclists were happy we were there - and it is always a good day when you convert someone who ‘doesn't like coffee’ to enjoying an Oatly flat white. The drink of choice was a Swizzle, courtesy of Bill Springer spreading the good word of what a double flat white could be and on the hot days - and when we could find ice - we made iced coffee.
The amount of double parking within a 15 minute timeframe meant a lot of over-caffeinated cyclists.
Now we mustn't forget the coffee. The Passiflora from Colombia which we source through Matt Randell at Langdons was an absolute treat to serve. The combination of an outdoor mountain side setting and an Oatly flat white made with Passiflora on the Conti was what dreams are made of. So thank you to Conti, Oatly and Langdons, we couldn't have done it without you.
So a specialty coffee company partnering with an ocean charity? But why!
Oceans and bikes? Coffee and oceans? We joined forces with Blue because the future of our very industry is at risk with climate change. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. All the things that go into producing coffee.
The ocean sustains us, creating over half the air we breathe and a healthy ocean full of marine life can buffer the impacts of climate change. Like so many of the coffee farms we work with, the healthy populations of wildlife have a better chance of withstanding rapid environmental changes.
For us, this is a real opportunity to help with a cause that is bigger than ourselves and bigger than just our industry.
Why the Blue Marine Foundation
The Blue Marine Foundation is an incredible charity. Nicole met their Partnerships Director SJ Skinner working at another event at Somerset House back in 2017. SJ passionately spoke about the charity's existence to restore health to the oceans by combating overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity by creating marine reserves, establishing new models of sustainable fishing and restoring marine habitats. One of their founders Charles Clover is a powerhouse in ocean conservation having written two books The End of the Line and this year Rewilding the Sea: How to Save Our Oceans. He spoke of how almost 90% of commercial fish stocks are fully or over-exploited and 90% of the big fish are gone. Blue is dedicated to restoring the ocean to health by addressing overfishing.
One amazing example since we have been partnering with Blue, is the work they have done on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ascension’s waters are teeming with marine life, including sharks, some of the biggest marlin in the world and the Atlantic’s largest population of green turtles. On land and inshore, Ascension boasts several endemic species, including several types of ferns and fish, and Ascension’s own frigate bird. Until 2013, Ascension’s 440,000 square kilometre exclusive economic zone was being plundered by a long-line tuna fleet which was associated with human rights abuses, shark finning and high levels of by-catch. From 2017 Blue campaigned for Ascension to become a 100% Marine Protected Area. In 2019 the UK Government backed the Ascension Islanders to designate 445,000 square kilometres of Marine Protected Areas with 99.5% no take commitment. Contributions from the London 2 Monaco ride helped Blue raise £2 million to establish an endowment fund to provide support for local community projects in perpetuity. With sustainable finance in place Ascension Island now has no need to sell fishing licences, their waters nor safe from industrial fishing and deep sea mining. This small island has made a huge commitment to the world as a jewel in the Atlantic Ocean’s crown.
Check out Blues interactive site to see some of their projects in more detail.