For the second year in a row, the Climpson’s van followed the epic Blue Marine Foundation charity cycle ride from London to Monaco. All to raise awareness and funds for Blue and their ocean conservation projects.
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. For us, this is a real opportunity to help with a cause that is bigger than ourselves and bigger than just our industry.
Funds raised have supported projects on Ascension Island, the Maldives, Aeolian Islands, the Solent and in the Mediterranean where they are combatting plastic pollution with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. In just 8 years, BLUE has helped protect over 4 million square kilometres of ocean.
Climpson & Sons contributed to the cycle by providing coffee at every break for the cyclists and it was the epitome of a mobile coffee shop crossed with an over-caffeinated mountain goat as we travelled through 8 countries in 6 days (UK / France / Belgium / Luxembourg / Germany / Switzerland / Italy / Monaco).
This year it was bigger and better than ever, with more people involved and more cyclists in need of coffee and a bit of banter to get them through the tougher moments. As the official coffee sponsor, we definitely had to put the pedal to the metal smashing out coffees for 80-110 people at various pit stops (known as feeds) each day. By our calculations, we made over 1700 coffees across the 6 days - mainly espresso and flat whites, with a few cold brews, affogatos (it was Italy — we had to!), and batch brews for those extra long days (until the batch brewer broke). These cyclists powered through the coffee — seconds, thirds, and a chap called Tom hitting the extremes of up to 6 in a stop.
Looking back, it is hard to remember where we were at any given stop — one minute we were at the departure event with royalty, the next minute we were weaving in and out of sometimes 3 countries in one day (Luxembourg, Germany, and France). The first few days were spent finding our feet, becoming pros at hauling coffee machines in and out of our van and attempting to remember everyone’s drinks.
One afternoon our coffee pop up took us to a lovely French canal side, when suddenly the heavens opened, raining relentlessly. The afternoon involved making mochas under a tree, sheltered by a hedge, and cyclists huddled in front of the generator breathing in those warm fumes.
There were a few hair-raising moments, one where we caught David Churchill on film attempting to avoid the bone-shaking on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Others involved avoiding trucks careering around hairpin corners and the often interesting Italian roads.
One of the highlights came on day four as we whizzed up the mountain to find the perfect coffee stop with a view at the summit of Col du Grand St Bernard. For us, we were rewarded with a picture perfect coffee stop, for the cyclists it was a battle of wills and endurance climbing 45km with 2500m elevation. We were making coffee with one foot in Italy and one foot in Switzerland. This actually became very confusing when interacting with shopkeepers — attempting French and them replying in Italian. The next two days were the descent from the Alps into the gorgeous Italian countryside, finally hitting the Med and heading across into France and then into Monaco.
Fast forward to the final day and a deja vu of being welcomed into Monaco by the Prince of Monaco himself. The end of the ride was bittersweet — and BLUE CEO Clare Brook announced that just that very day, the UK Government had made the largest commitment to marine protection ever. Now that’s something we could all celebrate – and we did!
Billy Swizzle summed it up from the riders point of view:
“I know that every single rider looked forward to the over-the-top-coffee stops put on by London’s Climpson & Son’s like five-year-olds look forward to eating birthday cake. Not only was every aspect (taste, smell, caffeine jolt and excuse to stop pedalling at kilometre 150!) of Climpson and Son’s coffee amazing, the consistent smiling encouragement we got from the hardworking Climpson’s team was as meaningful and powerful as our beloved tailwind!” Billy Swizzle (as a result of such nice words we have names a drink after him — the Swizzle Flat White).
This could not have been achieved with the help of our incredible Silver Sponsors:
Trabocca for their contribution to the ride and to Roger and Andy from European Water Care for not only their contribution but for getting up at 4am to see the riders depart in style from the Herne Hill Velodrome.
As well as thanks to DR Wakefield for the coffee - the Kokie from Ethiopia and Daterra Estate from Brazil certainly kept the cyclists happy.
Thank you also to Oatly — making for a delicious flat white!
The charity has raised just under a quarter of a million pounds this year, which is an incredible result. You can read more about the projects it directly relates to here:
The charity: The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) exists to restore healthy oceans. Their focus is combating overfishing by creating marine reserves, establishing new models of sustainable fishing and restoring marine habitats. BLUE’s aim is to see at least 10% of the ocean under protection by 2020, with a long-term aim of 30% protected.
The London to Monaco cycle ride engages with riders and sponsors to support its mission by raising awareness and funds for BLUE’s global conservation projects. Funds raised have supported projects on Ascension Island, the Maldives, Aeolian Islands, the Solent and in the Mediterranean where they are combatting plastic pollution with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. In just 8 years, BLUE has helped protect over 4 million square kilometres of ocean.
The projects 2018: All funds raised from riders and sponsorship will go directly to support BLUE’s chosen projects. This year, London to Monaco funds will be supporting BLUE’s projects in the South Atlantic and Mediterranean.
ST HELENA: The remote South Atlantic island of St Helena is home to an incredible array of marine life, including 10 species of fish found nowhere else in the world. The surrounding waters are important for several charismatic migratory species such as humpback whales, turtles and whale sharks – which may even breed there. BLUE is building local capacity within the marine sector by supplying conservation skills, equipment and support through a post at the St Helena National Trust, the well-established local conservation group. The marine project officer, Beth, is working with the community in St Helena to support and champion the delivery of the country’s IUCN Category VI (sustainable use only) Marine Protected Area which covers all 444,000 square kilometres of the island’s exclusive economic zone.
ASCENSION: Ascension’s waters, which straddle the mid-Atlantic ridge, are home to globally important marine biodiversity including huge and rare fish. The beaches also provide crucial nesting sites for endangered green turtles. BLUE is working hard to ensure that conservation is at the heart of the island’s future and that Ascension can be a hub of conservation excellence in the Atlantic. Following on from the fantastic impact of the last cycle ride’s fundraising, London to Monaco 2018 will help support a range of conservation efforts on Ascension, including turtle internships.
MEDITERRANEAN ROLLOUT: The Mediterranean Sea was once one of the most productive bodies of water on the planet but in recent times has been badly mismanaged and depleted, losing 41 per cent of its marine mammals and 34 per cent of its fish in the past 50 years. BLUE believes that some system whereby artisanal fishers operate sustainably within locally managed marine protected areas, providing traceable, high quality, high value sea food could assist the recovery of the Mediterranean. Therefore, BLUE is building on its work in Lyme Bay and the Aeolians to roll out its proven model to suitable sites in the Mediterranean to create a network of effective marine protected areas. The first phase of the rollout will identify areas where BLUE can achieve conservation gain, benefit the local fishery and apply the model with support from local stakeholders.
Here's to L2M 2019!
Credit: David Churchill
Our 2018 London 2 Monaco Video: