Mission accomplished for artist Christopher Sacre, who just raised over £1500 for us by completing the London to Paris Bike Ride!

It took months of training and overcoming three wheel punctures, but on Sunday 26 April Shape artist Christopher Sacre completed the 300 mile challenge that is the annual London to Paris Bike Ride on our behalf. Beating his initial goal of £1450.00, Chris raised over £1500 for Shape, allowing us to continue to help future generations of disabled artists to develop their practice. Here, he tells us what encouraged him to take part, and the details of his inspiring journey…

Christopher Sacre standing next to his bike in full cycling gearWhy were we your charity of choice?
After graduating in 1999 from Wolverhampton School of Art and Design I moved to London to begin my artistic career. Through word of mouth I was told about this organisation that supports Deaf and disabled artists. So, being a Deaf visual artist, I approached you. Without Shape's support and access I would not be where I am today. It is because of this I want to support you - so you are able to do the same for future generations of artists.

Why did you decide to do the London to Paris Bike Ride instead of another fundraising challenge?
I receive your regular newsletter and saw you were looking for volunteers to take part in the bike ride. I applied last year but unfortunately I sustained an injury, which meant I couldn’t take part - so I postponed it to this year. I thought why not?  - I was looking for a new challenge and thought it would be good for my wellbeing.

What was the most difficult aspect of the training?
I hadn’t undertaken any exercise for roughly 10 years, so this was a huge challenge for me. It was hard at the start and I had to increase the duration and distance each time I trained. This was difficult, due to work and family commitments. I trained alone so found it difficult to establish if I was training at the correct pace or not.

Will you keep up with your new fitness regime now the bike ride is over?
Since returning and completing the bike ride I feel a sense of loss ... because of this, I plan to join a local bike club to continue cycling. You are now to blame as I have become a bike 'geek' and take interest in other people’s bikes!

How did it feel when it was actually time to begin the bike ride?
Once I arrived at Crystal Palace I was very nervous as I didn’t know 100% what I was doing. I was extremely keen to get underway, and once I knew what I was doing, I had the right mindset and became very focused on the ride.

Christopher Sacre celebrating at the Eiffel Tower in ParisHow did it feel to cross the finish line?
To be honest I was happy to arrive in Paris in one piece!

What was the most difficult part of the journey?
On the first day I had three punctures which was very frustrating as it set me back each time: thankfully I arrived in Dover before night fall. That’s the UK roads for you!

What did you use for motivation when things got tough?
I had always said to myself this is not a race, I just wanted to take it at my own pace. The support crew from Skyline, (who organise these events all year round) were amazing, providing me and the other riders with constant encouragement. They were fully aware of my needs as a Deaf person and regularly checked I was ok.

How did you celebrate once the bike ride was over?
The crew popped some champagne and I took a ‘selfie’ of myself in front of the Eiffel Tower!

Did the ride give you any creative inspiration?
I‘m afraid not - I was concentrating far too much on the road. However, the outbuildings I saw along the country roads in France looked ideal for conversion into studios, who knows?!

What is your next big challenge?
Crazily, I am already planning my next bike ride: ‘The Three Cities bike ride’ through beautiful English villages and into the Dutch lowlands via Amsterdam and across to Brussels. This time I hope to raise money for Kent Deaf Children’s Society (KDCS).

Thanks again Christopher for a wonderful effort on our behalf, and the disabled artists who will benefit from our work. For those wishing to give, the deadline for this particular fundraising event is 25 May 2015. 

To donate, please click here (takes you to the Justgiving page linked to this event).

Interested in raising funds for us? Please contact [email protected] or call us on 0207 424 7330

For a limited remaining period of time, all donations and funds raised such as Christopher's, will be match funded by Arts Council England's Catalyst Arts scheme

For more information on this, please go to the relevant page on our website by clicking this link  

All images by Christopher Sacre