2 guys, 180 miles of cycling, 27 hours (17 on the bike), 5 hours sleep, 1 map, 6 cans of Coke, 18 energy bars, 6 croissants, 2 portions of fish & chips, lots of positive thought, 5 confused Frenchmen.

belgium biking

Hugh Edmondson and Chris Drumey from the Coca-Cola Great Britain team share snapshots from their ride to Brussels.


Actors talk about ‘doing it for the looks on their faces’, Chris and I can now claim the same. In our case the ‘performance’ was a 27-hour journey by bike from London to Brussels, and the ‘audience’ were bemused colleagues from Paris, arriving for the same meeting, via the more conventional (some might say sensible) method of the train. There is however, something very satisfying about the reaction which meant we knew we’d done something which was a little special. Even if it meant sitting in the reception of the Brussels office in smelly lycra and nylon!



belgium biking

How did we get there? The journey started last year, as a crazy idea which become too good to let go. As a group of North West Europe & Nordics commercial teams, we had committed to meet regularly, and the next would be in Brussels. We got so excited by the idea that we could cycle our way there from London, that it became the obvious thing to do. The motivation? There was a challenge to keep travel costs low (and at £25 for the journey, that box was ticked!), but more it was to prove we could do it, and learn a bit about ourselves and each other along the way. 

belgium biking

Armed with navigational notes, as many energy bars as we could stuff into bulging pockets, and good old British pats on the back, we headed east.  Amazingly, the weather Gods were with us, and we had a spectacular run to the coast.  We took in as many landmarks as we could find, making us feel like we have ridden through a Hollywood set, where all English people live in stately homes!  After a patchy crossing of the Channel (ferry contents:  40 trucks, 4 cars… 2 bicycles), we gave ourselves a rest in Ostend, and set off again into frosty Belgium...  At 4.30 am.  Nerves about cycling in the dark evaporated.  This became the high point of the journey.  Two friends chatting and joking, making great progress on empty moonlit roads, with a couple of Cokes to keep the energy up (of course).  It was fantastic. 

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Progress was relentless.  We hammered through the beautiful city of Brugge, cobbled streets and all.  We felt immense, and thoughts started to turn to what breakfast we would have in Brussels!  As it always is, pride was followed by a fall (literally in my case).  The heavens opened and we were drenched.  The cold, was now a big problem. 

london biking

With heavy hearts, and even heavier socks, we decided to find somewhere for warmth and coffee. Having regained the sensations in our limbs, we headed off for the final push. Forty miles became 50 when we got lost, but the feeling of finding the Brussels office was overwhelming. We probably had notions of a Rocky-esque celebration, but in the event, we just laughed, shook hands, grabbed a Coke from the fridge, and took in the confused expressions. Perfect!

Watch a snapshot of their adventure in the video below:




belgium biking

Hugh Edmondson and Chris Drumey are on the Coca-Cola Great Britain Commercial Team.


By cycling instead of taking the plane, Chris and Hugh each saved 0.01 tonnes of C02 and collectively burned 27,880 calories…