Paul Crow is the managing director of bathroom retailer Ripples. He has been with the company since 1998.
KBB 4 Sanitation First – the industry’s London to Paris cycle challenge
Posted 25th September
The target was twenty people and £20,000. It seemed easy to say and it certainly had a nice ring to it for sure, but I didn’t actually know how I was going to do it. So, all I now had to do was find another nineteen people, two people to drive the support vehicle, and then work out how to get them all from London to Paris, and back again, in one piece.
The challenge was to follow a GPS-plotted dotted line from one capital to another and at its shortest it would be just under 200 miles, more for anyone that didn’t join those dots. For some, it was going to be challenging, for others it was daunting, but for everyone it was exciting and a chance to meet new people and to simply have some fun.
Sanitation First is one of those small charities nobody has heard of. I like the fact that they put all their resources into making a difference in the areas where it matters most; the homes and schools of remote and poverty-struck villages in India where death and disease are a daily occurrence.
We were aware that just over £500 was enough to buy an Ecosan toilet that could make huge improvements to every life in the village, and the thought of being able to buy forty of them was of huge significance to the charity and something that we were determined to make happen. And we did.
The support from the KBB industry has been magnificent. Sponsorship has come in from showroom owners, designers in those showrooms, colleagues within the industry, as well, of course, as vital significant donations from the suppliers and manufacturers themselves – not all of which work with Ripples, it should be said. Behind the scenes there were some anonymous donations too and the target would not have been achieved without them.
As the phone calls and emails started coming in from people hearing about the event on the LinkedIn grapevine, the rider list slowly grew. Some had never ridden a bike before and would have to invest in one to make the trip possible. Others had to dust theirs off in the shed, having long ago believed it wouldn’t be ridden again. The one thing they all had in common is that they were brave enough to put their hand up and put their money where their mouth is.
Picture the scene: the cobblestones of the Champs-Élysées rolling in front of you, the tower of Eiffel now firmly in sight and the sun-kissed faces of riders grinning from ear to ear as they rode, as a peloton, to the end of their journey and to a fundraising total that on their return would exceed the £20,000 target.
It’s not too late to donate. If you would like to do so, as an individual or a company, you can do so here:
The riders and support crew:
Simon Baker, Mark Blewitt, Graham Bond, Simon Cornelius, Paul Crow, James Curtis, Diane and Richard Garnett, James Gibbard, Archie Goodsir, Andrew Healey, Liam Ryan, Andrew Healey, Helen Jones, Andy Pullen, Ana Rezende, Wayne Roberts, Leanne Robey, Malcolm Royan, Nick Saunders and Chris Tranter. A very special thanks also to the support crew of Roger and Lisa Kyme.
The following sponsors all made this possible:
Aqata, Burgbad/Vitra, BC Design, Bristan, Dansani, Davroc, Esse, Faucets, Geberit, Heritage, Hansgrohe (who also supplied a full kit to every rider), HiB (support vehicle sponsor), Hubert Burda Media, Laufen, Methven, Roca, Ripples, Sterlingham, Techvision, Thermonet, Trimline, Vogue.