This month, Climpsons Nicole, Darryl, Brodie and Becky spent 8 days keeping one step ahead of Blue Marine Foundation’s cycling hop from London to Monaco, setting up to serve coffee to the thirsty riders along the way. The trip is an annual fundraiser for Blue Marine Foundation and all the money raised goes to support their innovative ocean health projects across the world, from Portsmouth to Patagonia. They are on a mission to see 30% of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030, and the other 70% managed responsibly, working to develop models of sustainable fishing and restore marine habitats in order to tackle our current crisis of ocean biodiversity. This is our 5th time sponsoring the event and it’s always something special.
This year the route got seriously adventurous, crossing over the ferry to Hook of Holland before travelling south through Germany and venturing into the Swiss Alps. We then descended into the Italian lakes and finished by gliding down the hairpin bends of the Cote D’Azur to make espresso in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. What a ride.
Here’s the story of the trip told in just 8 beautiful photos, snapped by Tom Austin
The ride started on the banks of the Thames at the iconic Somerset House. Here, the riders gathered to start the journey and got to try our delicious Passiflora, Colombia espresso for the very first time. Smooth nutty notes and a light caramel finish, this proved to be a real hit with the group. We made coffee using the seriously reliable Conti CC 102 C, who also kindly supported us by providing the beautiful custom ceramic cups you can see resting on top of the machine. We took these ceramics all the way to Monaco, saving the single use and washing up on the road with our signature three bucket system (if you know, you know).
Each day, as well as serving up espresso, Climpsons would fill the all-important snack table to feed the hungry cyclists. This meant a daily google research to scope out the local shops and stock up on baked treats and fresh fruit. You would often find us at the bakery doors for opening time to get the goods in before hitting the road ahead of the speedy cyclists. This picture says it all, flat white in hand, reaching for the pain au chocolat.
Andermatt in the Swiss Alps was due to be the start of a big day in the mountains for the cyclists. However, unpredictable weather at 1,400m altitude got in the way as the temperature dropped to a frosty -6 overnight. Icy conditions with low visibility meant the riders had no choice but to take the train for the first leg. Here they are gathered at the station. We drove over the pass that morning and can confirm, it was pretty hairy going over the top. A wise decision to take the train.
This image is all things London to Monaco. Palm trees lining the (almost) empty winding road in the foreground, with dramatic mountains spanning the background as far as the eye can see. Stunning.
Why have a regular gazebo when you can have an inflatable one? Our twice daily set-up included pumping this beauty up and delicately arranging her in place with ‘weights’ (as you can see here, 8 full cases of Oatly). Officially the weakest link of the trip, the gazebo needed emergency surgery from the team on day 5, with two of her inflatable bags needing a mid-trip replacement. Here she is on day 6, loving life and happily staying fully pumped. Climpsons to a tee.
What a treat this was. One sunny afternoon, we decided to grab some gelato to serve up affogatos for the crew. Espresso and a decadent scoop of vanilla or pistachio went down oh so well on a hot Italian afternoon. A great reward after conquering the climbs of the Italian Alps.
Here the cyclists roll on into the Prince’s Palace of Monaco to be greeted by the embrace of friends and family, Prince Albert himself and one final coffee from us. This year we were lucky enough to set up for one last coffee stop, right outside the royal palace! A regal end to a real adventurous trip.
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You can also check out our previous journal content on London to Monaco here.
All photos credited to Tom Austin: