Hills, Night Rides and Weddings

It’s been two weeks since my last post with no excuse other than I’ve been tired and busy. During this time I hadn’t even noticed that I had surpassed the 3,000km mark, which makes me even more determined to celebrate the next milestone more, so watch this space.

My total distance Powered by Me is 3,028km and I’ve raised a total of £2,130 for five different causes. Thanks to all those who have supported along the way, it makes the world of difference when I am out there riding knowing that the money raised is helping others in need. Interested in donating? Visit my donate page here.

Hills, Heat, Night Riding and Weddings

On 26 May I set off on my ride from my home in South East London to Robertsbridge in East Sussex to go to a best friend’s wedding. An expected heat wave hit South East England with temperatures reaching just under 30 degrees Celsius. Usually I would bask in temperatures like this, but by lying down in a park with a picnic and a cold beer! Until this ride I hadn’t cycled long distances in hot temperatures before. I’d run and played other sports in the heat but not this.

It wasn’t long before I just felt like I was climbing and climbing and climbing. It felt never ending in parts and something that I’m just not used to as most of my rides are within London. The hills paired with the heat meant that I tired out within just a few hours. I did what I could to make sure I stayed in the shade, stopped to stretch every hour and kept myself hydrated.

The route took me through Bromley, Halstead and Sevenoaks where I stopped for a long lunch at a cute little sports themed cafe called 1809 in Hildenborough. I ordered most of what I laid my eyes on, I was so hungry and thirsty I had the lot! Would highly recommend as a pit stop for any cyclists passing through, friendly and welcoming with some great food and drink.

Leaving lunch I had several more hours of cycling, getting through more hills as best I could and coping with the heat. I passed through Matfield, Goudhurst and Hurst Green. With less than an hours riding to go, I was close to heat exhaustion so decided to stop for a brief pit stop at the Ringden Farm Shop and guzzled down an ice cold homemade lemonade and fudge – it was just bliss and gave me the sugar hit I needed!

IMG_1118

The farm shop owner asked where I had cycled from and was shocked that my answer was, ‘London,’ and thankfully told me it was downhill for most of the way to Robertsbridge. It wasn’t long before I saw that sign and arrived at my destination for the weekend with beautiful quintessential countryside views over looking the South Downs at The Dairy, Willow Cottage. I finally made it and it was now time to recuperate, relax and prepare for the wedding the next day.

Mr and Mrs Meakins Wedding Day, followed by Night Riding

The wedding day came and was only 6km away from The Dairy. BUT. I had to somehow get to the church sweat free and looking presentable, but I also needed to wear some sort of sports wear and my helmet! It was all good practice as this year I have endless hen dos and weddings that I needed to travel to and from Powered by Me.

I set off nice and early so that I could cycle as slowly as possible to the venue to make sure I didn’t sweat off my make up and be sitting in the church smelling. Fortunately it was a bit cooler and I passed my heavy items (locks, jacket, lights) to a friend who was driving to the church. Shortly after I arrived at the church relatively sweat free and after a quick shoe change, I was ready to go!

The wedding was just fantastic, a cute little church ceremony followed by a festival themed wedding in the beautiful setting of Brightling Park with tepees, outdoor fires, afternoon tea and a hog roast – what’s not to like! It wasn’t long before the booze was flowing and even though I had to cycle home that night I made sure it didn’t stop me having a good time.

IMG_1244

IMG_1247

IMG_1250

IMG_1249

It wasn’t long before several bottles of prosecco had been drunk and countless shots of tequila and I began to make my way home, cycling the same route as I had done that morning. Within minutes I was in trouble. I didn’t expect it to be so dark, literally pitch black and my lights not even helping my visibility. At one point I was picking up speed but I couldn’t see I was going down hill. I made a silly mistake of not packing a head torch and all I had was my phone torch and Google maps for directions.

In the end I walked most of the way getting lost several times and after setting off at 12.30am I arrived back at The Dairy at 2.00am! Never again will I not pack my head torch. Lesson learnt and it’s all learning for the future weddings I have coming up, some of which I may be staying further away from venues than this one…watch this space and if you have any tips, advice or just want to tell me how stupid I am please get in touch. 

The next day I was a little broken but knew that a days riding had to sort out my hangover. Cycling the same route home I passed familiar villages and towns and fortunately for my mind and legs, it was more downhill than up!

The weather was much cooler but yellow rain warnings were forecast for later on in the day, which basically meant torrential down pours and flash flooding. With an hour to go the heavens opened and I took shelter in a bus stop near Lewisham as the visibility was so poor with the rain and I also had to put on what little wet weather gear I had.

After pulling myself together and braving the rain, I arrived home just after 5pm to some familiar sights and knowing I had food, drink and rest ahead of me. My first wedding weekend complete Powered by Me!

IMG_1241

In total, I’d clocked up another 200 odd km Powered by Me and raised another £100 for May’s charity The Dystonia Society. Despite some tough hill climbing, one traumatising night ride and some intense heat and torrential rain, after a few days recovery I am feeling stronger, more confident and generally chuffed!

Robertsbridge to London ride back from Rach's wedding


If you’re inspired by my journey, please donate below, or text PBME95 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Dystonia Society and follow my social channels to get the latest updates.

donate-now


LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK
FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER
FOLLOW ME ON STRAVA

IMG_1144

Week’s 18 & 19: 33 to go

As of today, I have completed a total of 19 weeks straight using only human-powered transport and covering a total distance of 2,751.75km Powered by Me and raising £1,936.51 for different charities. This month, I am fundraising for The Dystonia Society via my Just Giving page here. It’s just so exciting to know that in 6 and a half weeks time, I will have reached half way point through my lifestyle adventure challenge. Once again, I’ve been overwhelmed by the words of encouragement, support and donations from all of you, so thank you and please keep it going.

Stronger, faster, better

One of best things that’s happened to me in recent weeks is this:

I am stronger, I am faster, I am better.

I knew this challenge would change me but I didn’t know how. I’d never done anything like this before, nor knew anyone who had. Could I do it? Would I become fitter? Would I become more productive? I’m only just starting to answer some of these questions now. Just over a quarter of the way through my year-long human powered challenge I am starting to experience staggering changes to my body and mind.

I am more productive, my mind feels stronger, happier and healthier, I feel I can honestly do anything I put my mind to, my body is so much stronger, I don’t ache day after day anymore, instead, I feel solid, my core strength is stronger and without labouring the point, all in all, body and mind, I am stronger, faster and better. And to top it off, I went to see the fantastic Mark Hokan from Purus Active Health for my monthly sports massage. Usually, I would be in quite a bit of back and calf pain, but this time round everything just felt great!

It’s time to learn and collaborate with other lifestyle adventurers

For the past month, I have been exploring ways of learning from other adventurers and challengers like me, to look at collaborating with them and being inspired by their feats. When you start looking, it’s quite overwhelming how many incredible people are out there, doing fantastic things for great charitable causes and to pursue a life of physical and mental development.

I’ve been particularly impressed with Dan Keeley, Rom2Home creator, Virginia Bailey, stRIDE17 creator and one person I’ve yet to connect with, Markus Pukonen, Routes of Change creator. All are doing phenomenal challenges to provide a better life for someone else through their fundraising and are doing their bit to make this world a stronger, happier and healthier place, read a bit more about these amazing individuals below.

Dan Keeley – Rome2Home

After experiencing a full-blown manic episode in Italy, which resulted in Dan preaching to the central lane of a major motorway, he was in and out of psychiatric wards in both Italy and the UK. Soon after he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and months of depression. This was back in 2012 and fortunately, Dan now manages his Bipolar and seeks adventures to raise money for CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) and by running from Rome to Home, starting on 25 August.

Dan

Over around 65 days he will run 1,250 miles through Italy, Switzerland, France and more, watch Dan’s route from Rome to Home here. Dan hopes to raise £12,000 which will help combat male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45, with 12 men taking their lives daily. Find out more about Dan’s journey on his blog Rome2Home and connect with him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I for one will be following his journey closely and will be supporting with Dan’s social media and content creation during his journey, so watch this space!

Virginia Bailey – StRIDE17

Virginia’s dad suffers from Dementia and she has set herself the task to raise £20,000 for Dementia UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Unforgettable who create dementia products, by covering 450 miles across 3 countries in just 8 days, mostly cycling and some hiking, with 12 ladies in lycra whose families or loved ones have been affected by Dementia.

Virginia

Not only has Virginia created this journey from scratch, she doesn’t count herself as a ‘cyclist’ and has self-funded the entire trip by asking for in-kind accommodation, kit, venues and more. StRIDE17 will help families and carers to cope with Dementia, through raising awareness and sharing stories, and will raise much-needed funds to support specialist Dementia care workers and research into the disease. If you want to support in any way, head over to StRIDE17 fundraising page and connect on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Markus Pukonen – Routes of Change

I thought my year-long Powered by Me challenge was a bold step for me to take until I heard about Markus Pukonen, who is circumnavigating the planet human powered for 5 years…yes you heard it FIVE YEARS. His Routes of Change adventure will create healthy futures for others, by showing people all over the world that sustainable living is possible. I am just amazed and hope one day I get to meet Markus!

Markus

He’s been on the route for 1 year and 305 days and is currently sailing the Pacific Ocean. This is just insane, I can’t believe it and makes me even more confident about what I could achieve way beyond Powered by Me! Watch Markus Pukonen on Hawaii News here and follow Markus on Twitter and check out his site Routes of Change.

Seeking like-minded lifestyle adventurers

If you’re an adventure of sorts and are looking to change your lifestyle, or in the process of doing so and encouraging others to, I want to hear from you! I would love to find out what your adventures mean to you, where you are in the world, what advice you have for others and more. So please get in touch, connect with me on my social channels below and let’s talk!


If you’re inspired by my journey, please donate below, or text PBME95 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Dystonia Society and follow my social channels to get the latest updates.
donate-now


LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK
FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER
FOLLOW ME ON STRAVA

IMG_0751