London through Surrey and Sussex to Brighton
Usually I’m writing these charity event news stories about someone else but as I’m the subject this time, I’ve decided to write it in the first person, so…
…this Saturday (20th September) I’m taking part in the London to Brighton Off Road Bike Ride to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and I’m looking for your sponsorship.
The race starts at Roehampton University in South West London and follows a 75 mile punishing off-road route that twists and turns it’s way through Surrey, West Sussex, and along the Hove promenade before finishing on Brighton seafront.
Some of you will know I permanently paralysed my left left arm, including the left side of my chest and upper back, in an accident in 1999.
If you are concerned that this challenge may be too demanding for a one armed rider, rest assured; I am a proficient mountain biker anyway but for this race, I’ll be on the back of a tandem (“stoker”), “captained” by my good friend Nick Mockridge, from Shottermill near Haslemere.
Don’t think we’ve got it easy though; the tandem we are riding is built to withstand steep, rocky descents and has a steel frame making it much heavier than two normal mountain bikes! Hard work on level trails, arduous uphill.
This is a personal challenge for me; I was hoping to take part in the event last year on my normal mountain bike but crashed in training and fractured my humerus bone.
In case something like this happened again, I’ve left my appeal for sponsorship close to the wire but I’m still hoping to raise as much money as possible. It is great to be doing this race but it would be greater still to raise a lot of money for the BHF and their life-saving research programme. Anything you can spare would be much appreciated!
The event is almost entirely off-road. The BHF gives it a Grade 4 rating (Grade 1 the easiest, Grade 5 the hardest) and their website bills it as “a challenging and testing route that mixes cycle path, single track cycling with forest paths”, only suitable for “experienced riders with above average cycling skills and fitness.” It’s apparently both technical and strenuous and has “trails that are often steep, rocky and challenging” and “big, tough hills and/or long distances.”
The training has been tiring and finding the time and suitable routes to train for a 75 miler has been difficult. We’ve mainly followed footpaths and bridleways around the Chichester area, up to Petersfield and back in a loop, and once along the South Downs Way from Winchester to West Ashling where I live.
Riding these trails I’ve been surprised to see so many beautiful properties hidden away from main roads, villages and towns. Many of these had shiny CIA intruder alarm boxes which always makes me proud.
The event’s route often journeys close to the edge of CIA’s coverage boundary but also comes close to towns we are fairly prominent in, like Godalming and Billingshurst, it also goes right through Cranleigh (8 miles southeast of Guildford) which is somewhere I know we have a lot of active security systems. No doubt I’ll see many a shiny CIA alarm box on the ride.
To sponsor me, follow this link to my Just Giving page (here), or if you know me and prefer to you can just pledge money on my Facebook page or by texting a pledge to my mobile.
Many thanks y’all!!!
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