Here at MIDIRS we like a bit of a charity challenge.
In the past it has been all about feet pounding ground with the Three Peaks Challenge or walking the Camino de Santiago, so this year a few of us decided to do something a little bit different by putting foot to pedal instead.
Two of MIDIRS commuter cyclists decided to join forces with a mountain biker and road cyclist to take part in the Great Weston Ride. Not only did 56 miles cycling through the Mendips and along the Somerset Flats sound like a nice day out, it also gave us an opportunity to do something for the men. Working for MIDIRS the focus is normally on women and babies and this time the opportunity to cycle for Prostate Cancer UK seemed too good to pass up. This time we could do something for the men (and Dads).
On Sunday 15 July MIDIRS Information Officer, Jennie Roe and MIDIRS Marketing Assistant, Kate Holmes (me) set off with Mark Maynard and Gareth Hodgkinson from the Long Ashton Park and Ride in Bristol. Our one aim was to get to Weston-super-Mare in one piece. The last few months had been filled with Wednesday evening practice rides on the roads and bike paths surrounding Bristol, but in the weeks before the ride we slowly began to fall apart. By the time it began we had a range of assorted ailments that included a dodgy knee, chipped elbow, groin strain and a sore back – there was only one answer: ibuprofen!
One huge relief was that the sun kindly decided to break through the monotonous rain on that particular Sunday morning. Struggling along a route that is roughly one third rolling hills with an added pretty damn steep climb is certainly a lot more enjoyable with the sun on your back – you at least get to enjoy the view dry and bathe in sunlight!
Once we got through the tough climbs we had thought that the hardest part of the ride was done, but the last 18 miles had a sting in the tail – a nearly continuous headwind. By the time we all got to Weston-super-Mare we were all thankful to sit down near the blustery sea front with hot dogs and falafels to await our transport back to Bristol.
The experience was certainly a tough one but is one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve had to learn how to cycle differently – zipping up hills like a commuter doesn’t work if they are several miles long – and I have seen a lot of Bristol’s beautiful surroundings for the first time. There’s even the possibility that the regular rides may turn into something that continues every once in a while.
At the time of writing we’ve raised nearly £750 for the most common cancer in men and we’re still hoping we might meet our target of £1,000. (If you fancy helping us meet our goal, our fundraising page is: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/whenpushcomestoshove).