At 8pm BST on Thursday 19th April 2012 a crack team of six highly motivated (and probably crazy) young men set off to cycle from London to Paris in less than 24 hours. At 7:31pm BST on Friday 20th April 2012 all six riders arrived at the Arc de Triomphe, with just 29 minutes to spare.

The team raised £7,000 for two charities, Kenya Education Partnerships and One Laptop Per Child.

Kenya Education Partnerships (KEP) is where it all began. After finding out about the organisation through soon-to-be-spy (and good friend) Jenny Jones, Tom floated the idea of a London to Paris charity cycle to touring veterans Austin, Greg and Oli. After consultation with previous accomplishers of the challenge, including a very helpful John Wright, LtP24 was born.

KEP, a registered UK charity and NGO in Kenya, recruits around 60 UK students per year to provide resources and support to schools in two south-western Kenyan districts. The focus is on sustainable investment (a minimum of £1700 per school per year) over at least two years. This may sound like a small fee, but it makes a big difference to schools which receive little government funding for basic resources such as textbooks and essential infrastructure.

All money raised is invested in the schools after consultation with the students, teachers and parents. The UK students are there to build relationships with the recipients and make sure the money is invested in sustainable resources—allowing the schools to continue to improve beyond KEP’s presence. This has proved to be a very effective long term strategy.

When Austin’s company, Mortimer Spinks, heard about the ride they were really keen to get on board. As a technology company they wanted to support something technology based. They chose One Laptop Per Child. These guys pretty much do what they say on the tin; they believe every child has the right to education and that computers are a pretty amazing way to ensure that.

So they built the XO, a rugged, low-cost laptop that can be used in all conditions and connect to the internet anywhere. All the technology is open source and promotes collaboration between students. The XO is a really cool bit of kit that can make a really big difference to children’s lives. The team would like to thank Mortimer Spinks for their donation to One Laptop Per Child and for supporting the ride.

The Team:

Tom Bishop (chief organiser)
Dafydd Evans (mechanic)
Austin Jepsen (waterboy)
Oli Jepsen (pacemaker)
Laurence Pryer (navigator)
Greg Storrar (emergency shelter architect)

Roy Clarke (man with the van)
Dave Bridle (man with a movie camera)

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race
– H.G. Wells