ANS cyclists complete Manchester to London bike ride

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Genius dances along the fine line of insanity.

Nobody at ANS Group is claiming that the following tale is one of genius, let’s be clear about this from the start. And this is not the time to start looking too closely at what constitutes sanity; such questions are best left unasked in the year 2012. So if we say that what occurred on the A and B roads between Manchester and London in late June would, in the opinion of any reasonable person, be considered to be at least paddling at the edges of madness then that is, in our own opinion, as close to an accurate description as words can bring us. A wonderful legal term: any reasonable person. If you should happen to find this reasonable person please ask them to report the front desk, we’d all be super curious to meet them.

6am in Manchester is an almost magical time. But only if the sun is shining. The city is quiet, the roads are clear, and the grubby, grey architecture has a faded beauty when viewed without distraction. The sun was shining on Monday June 25th when six hardy men from ANS gathered in the car park outside the office, squeezed into their Lycra clothing and began a three day bicycle ride to London. Scott Fletcher, Chris Malthouse, Richard Cunningham, Phil Woodall, Gareth Ainsworth, Aaron Bell.

85 miles on the first day, uphill out of the city into Cheshire, then into the market towns of the Midlands before settling in Sutton Coldfield for the night. Nobody kept count of the amount of bananas or energy drinks that were consumed, but rest assured that it was plenty. Sore limbs slept soundly that night, one day was done but there was a brutal day on the horizon. Poirot was on ITV3, solving a twisted case of murder in an aristocratic inheritance muddle, as the team dozed off.

Who can fathom the madness of the dictatorial breakfast waitress? If there is a reasonable person to be found in this world, it is not in the restaurant of the –– hotel in Sutton Coldfield. Despite the barked instructions and the stinking attitude, we managed to procure porridge, fruit, cooked eggs and orange juice. Essential materials with which one can properly contemplate a 100 mile ride.

There was a moment of mirth in the car park as Chris Malthouse, veteran cyclist, fell off his bike before having ridden one meter. A gash on the head and a dent in the pride, but it would have taken more than such a piffling matter to stop this gang, they were ready. Determination shone from their eyes and they set off at an impressive lick – destination Dunstable.

Eight hours later and six exhausted riders crawled into the hotel for a massage and more sleep. It had been exactly as brutal as expected, a mish-mash of inclement weather, aggressive drivers and hills that are proof positive that the Creator fully expected human beings to develop automated vehicles. Around the dinner table though there was relief, just (ye Gods ‘just’, look what this ride has done to us) 37 miles to go. An early night for all as Poirot foiled a plot to frame an opium addict for murder.

It is amazing what a good psychological boost can achieve. The aching limbs were able to zoom into the capital in just over two hours, and arrived at the Olympic Stadium to receive the applause of the 200 guests at the ANS Great British Data Centre event. We will never know what Poirot did that night; the team was celebrating their achievement in the grand Western fashion of hard drinking. And who could begrudge them their moment to celebrate?

You can still sponsor the gang, www.justgiving.com/teamANS. Dig deep good people, it is the reasonable thing to do after all. And we are, if nothing else, all reasonable people.

View our Great British Data Centre Event video here