As I write this blog post I have mixed emotions. On one hand I am overjoyed that I have completed an entire year only using human powered transport (with a few exceptions) for my Powered by Me challenge and on the other hand, I am sad it is over. When I started Powered by Me on 1 January 2017, I never thought much about how I would feel at the end. Instead, I channeled all my physical and mental energy into getting myself from a to b, human powered.
Month by month, it ever so slowly got easier, as the bad weather passed, I became fitter the more I travelled and when the going got tough again, I was more resilient and able to cope with what was thrown at me (just). But a year is a really long time, a lot happens in a year, but not a lot happens too as you pass each day, each month, until you’re celebrating Christmas and then a New Year, wowzers!
London to Beijing (and a bit more)
So what distances do you tally up travelling only human-powered for a whole year? Well it of course depends where you need to get to. Day by day I needed to mostly get around London. In between the norm I travelled to Nottingham and Loughborough for work, Folkestone and Canterbury for hen dos and Kent, Dorset and Bordeaux for weddings.
So here goes, my final stats for 365 days Powered by Me are:
6,239 km by bike
1,926 km walking
450 km running
£3,342 raised charity
So that’s 8,615 km human-powered, which is a little more than the flight distance from London to Beijing.
Not without support
It goes without saying, but I really could not have achieved what I have without the endless support from friends, family, colleagues, charity donors and also complete strangers. There are too many people to name in one go, so instead I have summarised as best I can the people who have helped me at some of the lowest and highest of times this year.
My work colleagues and a few friends and family getting stuck into their very own Powered by Me week-long challenge.
Adam Turner and Ed Youngson for both lending me their bikes when I was in need, with the latter being stolen (but now paid back!).
Those that said I was bat-shit crazy for taking on such a feat and didn’t think it could be done. I proved you all wrong.
Kieron Ramsay for agreeing to cycle 1,400km with me from London to Bordeux to a wedding he wasn’t even invited to! It was an absolute pleasure Kieron.
Dan Keeley, a fellow adventurer who has helped provide clarity during a period of my life where I have been battling a divorce and depression.
To my girls who provided endless encouragement, took my bags around when I was cycling and gave me a lovely keep-sake to remind me of this Powered by Me feat.
My cousin’s wife Abra Voets who took part in her own Powered by Me week and also encouraged her pupils and colleagues too, getting it into the local news in Holland! Best of all, Willem Hogeveen, a maths teacher said, “In 38 years, I have never gone to work on my bike, just as I do now, it rains.” Despite the rain, Willem travelled Powered by Me also said he now intends to take the bike more often to work – result!
Radha Balani for the £10 donation to each charity every month and even reminding me when I hadn’t set up the next Just Giving in time, as well as sending some delicious home made brownies as fuel for my final month – thanks Radha!
Hanyi, Bev, Cushla, Claire, Andrew, Emily, Mandy, Rachael, Amy and Adwoa who all crowd funded generously for me to get a new bike when mine got nicked!
My work colleague Emma Butterworth for getting into cycling for the first time (with my old bike) getting me this fab make-up bag as a thank you and also putting together this story map of Powered by Me for a mapping competition.
And finally to my family for all the generous donations, enthusiasm and unconditional love during the lows and highs, including my mum who set up an Instagram account just so she could follow my journey.
So what’s in store for 2018?
Well firstly, I’m going to give myself a bit of a rest (sort of). I am not sure yet what my first mode of motorised transport will be. It could be a car, train, or tube journey. Whatever it is I hope that I don’t take it for granted and enjoy it somehow. In reality what I think will happen is I’ll freak out, be shocked by the fact that I have to pay for travel and most likely hop back on my bike (weather dependent). I’ll keep you posted!
What I do know, is that my travel in 2018 will now include other forms of transport – bike, walking, running, even skooting and skate boarding (when I can actually do them).
Now I know what I can achieve human-powered, it will certainly make me think twice about getting on the tube, bus, train, or in a car.
Now I have other options, that are green, eco, free and keep me healthy. So rather than just go back to my old ways, I hope that I will think a bit differently. If the weather is OK then I hope I will say ‘ride it.’ If it’s not too far then I hope I will say ‘run it.’ Whatever I decide I now have the foundations to travel human-powered. I’ve invested in myself, I have a decent bike, wet weather gear, lights, etc. so it would be a shame to just throw that all in the basement and wait for a sunny day.
Ultra Marathon training and 3-month sabbatical
What I do know is that on 28 April I will be running 36 miles straight in Pembrokeshire in my first ever Ultra Marathon. I’ve always been a runner at heart, having taken part in several marathons before. Since completing Powered by Me my fitness has possibly been the best it has ever been. That’s given me the confidence to keep my fitness up and build on top of it by training for a very long trail run 🙂
As well as that, work has very kindly given me a 3-month sabbatical during the Summer of 2018 where I plan to ride most days around Europe, from London to Croatia and possibly beyond. I’ve not yet planned anything as don’t want to get too excited and already have some fantastic recommendations from other bike packing cyclists.
As for my blog, I’m not yet sure what I’ll be doing with it. I definitely want to keep on blogging, about my running, cycling and other sporting adventures. I may keep it under the guise of Powered by Me, or start something new, who knows. Would welcome any thoughts or ideas please!
For now, over and out.