For various reasons, it’s been two weeks since I last post. I’ve been enjoying the longer weekends with the Easter break, as well as being away for my friend Rachael’s Hendo. So here is a round-up of what I’ve been up to during week 16 and 17, Powered by Me.
Running – because I want to
It’s been a long time since I went on a run because I wanted to. I ran to my friend Jen’s birthday dinner back in January, which I posted about in week 4, and consequently, the recovery was slow and painful. Every day I am using my body as a means of transport, so I don’t really get recovery days and as such, I have done far less running for Powered by Me than I had hoped. So when I woke up and felt like I had the energy and wanted to go for a run for exercise rather than transport I just had to give it a try!
A couple of laps of Southwark Park in the Spring sunshine was just what I needed to feel rejuvenated. And best of all, it wasn’t for transport means – bliss! After a day of staying local, I decided to make the most of the long Easter weekend and ran to The Photographer’s Gallery to see the Roger Mayne exhibition. A little longer run this time, with breaks in between. I also squeezed in a little walking tour of Covent Garden, making use of a birthday present my friends Luke and Nadia got me, London’s Hidden Walks.
London to Folkestone return ride for Rachael’s Hendo
My third big ride so far and it came around quick! One of my best friend’s Rachael Harten is getting married in May and we had her seaside Hendo in Folkestone. I booked the Friday off work to cycle there and with the longer days and better weather, I felt confident and able to do it!
This was my first big ride south of where I live in London and I was excited to experience a different cycling journey but was also apprehensive about what to expect. Despite ‘knowing’ an area (I grew up in Kent), I didn’t really know what it was like to cycle in, as my journeys had often been in cars, trains, buses, etc.
About an hour in and I’d hit a monster staircase with no alternative route but to walk up it with my bike, not the best start but could be worse!
It wasn’t long before I was out into the open countryside and immediately I’d noticed the roads were smoother and quieter compared to having cycled up north, to Loughborough and Nottingham. A lot of my journey was following the Pilgrim’s Way, a historical route for cycling and hiking. It was beautiful to ride but seriously challenging in parts as a lot of the route was off road, undulating, rocky with lots of gravel – not the best in a road bike and with cleats on!
I was cycling through lots of woodlands with pretty bluebells passing no one for several hours – bliss and much better than being in the office! I began to get increasingly sweaty not really realising I was climbing higher and higher until I got out into the open and reached Detling Hill, part of the North Downs with beautiful views and an area of outstanding natural beauty.
9 and a half hours in, with a total riding time of around 7 hours (don’t ask me what I did for those spare hours, god knows how taking photos and eating snacks adds up to that amount of time!) I reached Hythe, a small town along the seafront close to Folkestone. It was incredible to see the sea and know I had cycled all that way!
There’s something really special to me about being by the coast, knowing you’re on the edge of a country, with fresh, clean air that makes you feel alive, a real treat at the end of a long day’s riding.
The Hendo was a lot of fun, it was lovely seeing my best girlies and celebrate Rachael’s upcoming wedding, with games, seaside walks, champagne bars and of course lots of shots!
I was determined to not let the ride back get in the way of joining in with all the fun (meaning lots of drinking) and it wasn’t long before the debauchery really set in with fancy dress, shots and boomerangs!
I wasn’t long before I had to say farewell and get back on the bike with little sleep and a serious hangover – but it was totally worth it! It was also the day of the London Marathon and it hadn’t even realised I was wearing my London Marathon 2013 t-shirt from when I ran it. This put a smile on my face and made me feel up for cycling back, knowing there were 50,000 other Londoners who were pounding the streets for hours achieving great things for themselves and for different charities.
I was home safe and sound, arriving at about 5.30 pm on Sunday 23 April. I was ravenous, hungover, tired and needed a shower! I was really chuffed I had completed another big ride, making me feel Powered by Me is achievable, I can do it and am doing it.
Back in London town my week was pretty uneventful, cycling or walking to and from work with some evening activities thrown in. Despite having enjoyed my London to Folkestone return ride more than I thought I would have, I never get bored of taking snaps of the place I call home, London, it’s beauty really is endless and I feel fortunate to be able to explore it on foot or bike for all of 2017 and beyond!
To date, I’ve travelled 2,567.25 km using human powered transport and raised £1,751 for different charitable causes. If you’re inspired by my journey, please donate below, or text PBME94 to 70070 to donate to Mind and follow my social channels to get the latest updates.