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On 13th October 2012 thirty cyclists left Axminster in Devon and rode 769 miles to the Slow Food Salone del Gusto festival in Turin, Italy, in memory of Philippa Corbin. We rode to raise awareness of depression and raise funds for two charities.

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Blessed by the Girl in the Yellow Cardigan

During the recent days of our home-coming, it has become apparent how the cyclists have missed their lycra, missed their daily mission, missed the warm comradeship of the journey.  Not only this, I have missed the blue van, and find the flimsy gear-box of a GOLF is no comparison for the trusty old friend I got to know during those extraordinary days of our journey to Turin.  More meaningfully though, these last few days have given me a chance to think about what this journey has given to us all.

Less than 6 months before her death Pip had talked of doing a long cycle ride….. had even bought herself a Hi Viz jacket.  So when Maddy first mooted the idea of SRTT it really did not seem so ridiculous, and in a way, the obvious thing to do to celebrate Pip’s adventurous nature and her passion for Seasonal, Local, Organic and Wild foods. Plans for the ride began in September.   Perhaps the many months spent preparing the journey have unconsciously helped to ease the pain of Philly’s death. Aside from the safe return of all the cyclists, fine weather and good companionship I am not sure what my expectations had been for journey.

Thankfully, those few hopes were fulfilled AND so very much more.  My admiration grew for each and everyone of the cyclist; their spirited determination, their unity, their friendship, their fun was uplifting and we seemed to create a dreamlike yellow bubble where everyone carefully looked after each other.  Each day brought poignant reminders of dear Pip.  Somedays Nonie, Caroline, Hugh and I would recognise some exquisite patisserie or the local delicacies which she would have waxed lyrical about, others a beautiful butterfly would loiter around at our lunch time picnic spot…

The most moving time for me was the route from Chambery to Col de Cenis; three breathtaking days of a cloudless Alpine Autumn, where it seemed we had the road to ourselves and everything was bathed in a golden light: sunflowers, golden vines, vivid yellow leaves, sun-peaked mountains and finally, on the last morning, the yellow-shuttered chapel on the mountain.  That same day, yet sixty miles later, our stream of yellow ducklings pedalled their way through the busy streets of Turin to arrive safely, and on time, at The Lingotto Building.  Quite a moment for us all!  Two days later there was snow on our Alpine route, we wouldn’t have made it, quietly affirming the journey was meant to be.

The remarkable journey has been enriching, lifelong friendships formed, and for many, these days will be some of the best in their lives with unforgettable memories to treasure.  None of this would have happened but for the influence and inspirations of the girl in the yellow cardigan who loved nothing more than to have an adventure with her friends and share some good food.  We feel blessed – thank you Philly. XX