As part of our recent #ColemanCares initiative, we sat down with David Smith Valls, an analyst in our London office, who cycled from London to Paris in less than 24 hours. In his interview, he talks about the purpose behind the journey, the most challenging and rewarding aspects, and his future plans.
Can you explain more about how this concept came to fruition and the purpose behind it?
“I’ve always enjoyed cycling and have done many other long-distance cycles before including London to Amsterdam and London to Brighton. In the world of European cycling, this is quite common. However, we put a twist by adding a 24-hour timer to make it more challenging and exhilarating. In order to make our journey that much more purposeful and rewarding, I decided to partner with Mind charity, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about mental health. I really believe this is a topic that’s not talked about enough, so I wanted to do my part. My friend and I ended up raising about £600 for the cause through a JustGiving page online. We were very excited to get so much support, and we plan on doing more cycling for charity in the future.
Can you provide a bit more detail about your journey?
“We began our journey at 4:00 PM London time and headed to New Haven to catch the ferry to France. The ferry left at 11:00 PM and arrived at 4:00 AM French time, and that was technically the only time we had to rest and take a nap. At 4:00 AM, we set off again and cycled all the way to the Eiffel Tower. We officially arrived there at 4:42 PM (which is 23 hours and 42 minutes when factoring in the time difference.)”
What was the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the trip?
“The beginning of the second morning was definitely the most physically challenging part. We were taking on this exhausting challenge on almost no sleep. It was also hard to get our muscles working again after we stopped for a few hours. However, once the sun started to rise, we were lost in the beautiful scenery, landscape and quietness of the countryside as we rode while the world slept. But I have to say, the most rewarding part was seeing the Eiffel tower after a 24-hour trip. That was definitely the most memorable part.”
What trip is next on your list?
“There are so many more adventures on my list. I was thinking about cycling from London to Rome next. After that, it’s kayaking in the south of France!”
What is one thing you learned from your journey?
“You would be surprised about how much potential you have when you put yourself outside your comfort zone. I say that because I didn’t train for this at all.”