The London to Monaco 10 day cycle.
Climpson & Sons were proud to be the official coffee sponsors of the epic Blue Marine Foundation London to Monaco charity cycle.
The 10-day adventure provided the perfect backdrop to raise awareness and support for Blue’s projects to combat overfishing and the destruction of ocean biodiversity.
Oceans and bikes? Coffee and oceans? Well as it transpires the future of the coffee industry has a lot to do 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.
In a nutshell, we thought it was time to give back where we could, to help with a cause that was a little bigger than ourselves. So, the Climpson’s raised money and also contributed to the overall cycle by providing coffee at every break for the cyclists. We were the epitome of a mobile coffee shop crossed with an over-caffeinated mountain goat.
The Climpson’s van was kitted out with a generator powerful enough to power a whole village, some delicious Guatemalan coffee, a La Marzocco Linea Mini, a batch brewer and a whole lot of miscellaneous equipment that we never actually needed, and set off from Somerset House in London and looked to the French horizon.
We joined forces with Rapha and a group of cyclists ranging from 12 to 40 people. It was a full on rollercoaster as Matt and I spent an adventurous 10+ days on the road, covering over 1400km and 19,000 metres of elevation. Sure, we had the luxury of a van, the cyclists had to cycle!
Early doors we were setting up for coffee in the dark in some hotel car park, before setting off to make it to between 1 and 3 ‘feed’ stops along the way. We were often not sure where we were going. Matt driving and Nicole navigating through back roads to find kilometre 67 at which point there was maybe, hopefully, a place to stop and set up the coffee machine. Logistics of following cyclists often meant you had to make the choice: get petrol and perhaps miss a coffee stop, or risk it and hope you don’t run out. We chose the not running out of petrol option, and a high-pressure car ride playing catch up – covering 80km to the cyclists 45km. Those cyclists flew up mountains!
The first few days saw us through the Champagne region; we saw the occasional vineyard through the grey, misty fog. On day three we were looking forward to our stop at Charolaise Castle in the countryside. But the reality was a stormy day, a muddy car park and an Alsatian threatening us whilst we set up the Climpson’s tent in the rain.
Further, into the trip, the weather cleared and the views became more stunning as we headed into the mountains. A great spirit of camaraderie proved essential and kept spirits high when it was time to go up. There was a lot of going up. Our coffee stops were often perched on a hillside or mountaintop overlooking Bourgogne or Rhone- Alps. The epitome of the trip was Mont Ventoux. The cyclists powered up it and we had the opportunity to make coffee on the top of a mountain. Certainly, that’s every barista's dream. The altitude affecting our lungs, putting the Linea Mini to work and we all survived to tell the tale.
The day by day account of the trip saw us blundering after a crazy bunch of cyclists as they combatted cold rain and mist, jaw-dropping mountains and hair-raising and winding descents to arrive in Monaco and be greeted by Blue ambassador Prince Albert.
The realisation that we had crossed a whole country was no mean feat. There was a lot of lycra, a lot of sweat, a bit of blood and a whole lot of coffee. This event was a Climpson’s first and hopefully not the last.
For us, this event was a chance to contribute and working to save our oceans seemed like a good place to direct our efforts. The £200,000+ raised for this event is going towards projects including Solent oyster restoration, marine plastic removal as well as further work in the Ascension islands and the Maldives to increase and upkeep the marine development reserves that Blue has played such a part in protecting already.