Richard’s French Cycle Challenge, and my French Art Challenge

Bike wrapped around a tree - drawing

Final RunIn France last April over a couple of glasses of vin rouge my husband Richard hatched a mad plan to mark his 60th birthday in June. Having given up full time work the previous year he decided he needed a real challenge and it would be a great idea to cycle from Chorleywood right through to the south of France. I thought he might have come to his senses overnight but the next day he was keener than ever and didn’t stop talking and developing his plans!

So the plan came to fruition and my role was as back-up and chauffeuse, transporting all the camping gear, bearing in mind we are not seasoned campers! We took a very scenic route, providing a great opportunity to explore some of France’s beautiful villages and countryside, so I set my own challenge to create a painterly record of the whole experience. I kicked off with a painting of our starting point of Chorleywood.

My paintings were a challenge on many levels, painting pure landscape without the point of something man-made such as a fence required a focus on form within landscape. Also oil paint was not a practical choice for the trip, so I took acrylics, but I did continue to work on some of the paintings after the trip using oils. The results can be seen in the New Work GALLERY.

It was a great chance to raise funds for an important charity, the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT), one we have supported for many years. DHT plays a leading role in funding and promoting non-animal research to make major and practical contributions to advance medical science without harming animals. For more than 40 years, the DHT has funded over 150 research projects in some of the most advanced and successful human-relevant techniques in medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, kidney, heart and liver disease.

Richard kept a blog of the trip on Facebook, visit