Don’t panic – it’s the title of a song by one of my favourite bands! It may also be a category I’d put myself in 😆
But, as the song goes, “I like to ride my bicycle.” Sadly, I don’t own a bicycle and I’m not a confident road rider, so when Simon Barker challenged me to cycle 50km in a week, I decided the most straightforward way to complete this would be to find an exercise bike I could use.
In fact, I joined a local gym for a week. The wonderful Sharon from Teddington Carpets very generously offered to sponsor me by covering the cost of the membership. What a lovely gesture!
My friend Caroline then suggested I plot my route to see where 50km would get me to if I were cycling on the roads. Perhaps I would pass some impressive landmarks.
My next thought was to try and connect my “end destination” to my mum, as she was the main inspiration for this fundraising campaign. Now, it just so happened that the cycle route from my house to the home my mum was born in and the street I grew up in was 56.9km. That made up my mind; I’d cycle to the pub on the corner that connects the house that mum was born in, the maisonette my family lived in till I was three, and the house we then moved to until I was 11.
That pub is The Cowper Arms on Station Road in Digswell, Hertfordshire. Off I set – virtually.
Day one I was testing my cycling legs to see how much I could take (and how uncomfortable the seat would be…) but I still racked up a healthy 6.8km to start my journey. At this point, I’ll say that the bike would only record miles and no one at the gym could figure out how to change it to kms. So, I tracked each ride in miles and then converted them.
Daily progress report
I recorded my virtual destination each day to feel like I was making progress. Here’s the full progress report:
Start point: my house in Hampton
Day 1. 6.8km – to Richmond bridge
Day 2. 10.1km – to Hangar Lane gyratory
Day 3. 5.5km – to Floors World Direct, Neasden
Day 4. 11.3km – to Scratchwood Open Space, Edgware
Day 5. 12.2km – to Welham Green
Day 6. 12.8km – to Cowper Arms and round the car park a few times!
Day 7. Rest!
58.7km in total
I’ve since discovered that every time I look at google maps, it gives me a slightly different route and, therefore, a range of total distances. As I type this, for example, my total journey would be 57.5km. So, it’s a good job I did a few extra kms!
If you look on the map of my end destination, you’ll see the connection with the area – Mum was born in a house on Station Road, and we lived in Colyer Close then Cubbitts Close before moving up north when I was 11.
Big thanks to energie fitness in Hampton for getting behind my challenge and promoting it on social media, and even bigger thanks to Teddington Carpets for their sponsorship of my week’s membership. I enjoyed cycling a lot, and I’ve now joined the club as a full member. Didn’t see that coming!