Our first contact with Comic Relief was always about raising money for them. And getting bloggers to come together to do the same. But when my fellow Team Honk members suggested Snowdon, well I just knew I wasn’t doing that. I knew I couldn’t. I am not fit and doing something like that as part of a group was a disaster waiting to happen. Half way up Snowdon was not where I wanted to realise I had made a mistake. And as a plan to meet Prince William, well I am sure there are better ones than getting the mountain rescue helicopter scrambled.
Which left me with a dilemma. I needed to do something of a similar epic proportion to raise money. It had to be something huge because walking up Snowdon is no stroll in the park. And then I muttered “I suppose I could ride 25 miles on my bike” having got one for my birthday I had all the equipment I would need, certainly. And so my Red Nose Day challenge came to pass.
Twenty five being the number chosen to recognise 25 years of Red Nose Day. And of course it coincides with when I last rode a bike. 25 years ago through the streets of Peterborough going to college. The flat streets of Peterborough. The streets so flat that when I eventually passed my driving test I wasn’t required to do a hill start as there weren’t any.
Cycling around here almost certainly involves a hill. Great. Plus life being its usual manic chaos I didn’t actually get a chance to go out and practice
much at all.
Which is why at 1.30am on Saturday morning I was lying in bed wide awake. The alarm set for 4.30am so I could get out early and avoid any traffic. I just couldn’t sleep. So I wasn’t in great shape when I opened the garage at 5am and took out my bike.
But I was determined to do it. And do it I started to do. Until I left Fleet and realised that my route was going to be a lot darker than I had anticipated. Along a windy road, with bends and trees and no lights. And not only was I convinced that cars would not see me. I couldn’t see the road. So I stopped for a re think. And a cereal bar.
And to be sick in a hedge.
Hmm. Not the start I had anticipated. But I focussed on the stories I had heard this week from various Comic Relief TV shows, and the sites we had seen in Ghana. This was not going to beat me.
I took a different route and did a huge figure of eight loop of Fleet and wound my way along lit roads instead for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then I started to flag so went home for a cuppa. I guessed how far it was, hoping it was a sizeable chunk of the 25 needed.
Mr B was up by this point and said he would come with me and that maybe we could do the rest along the canal as it would certainly be flat and by now it was light. Plus I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic (I am terrified of fast moving traffic going past me, or me holding up traffic as they try and pass on a narrow road).
So phase two started. And it was fabulous. At one point I may have even mentioned the words “I am enjoying this”. It was flat, it was quiet, it was do-able. Mr B saw a deer. I was too busy concentrating on the big puddle ahead. There were swans. Ducks. Fishermen who had clearly been out all night. And very low flying aircraft (I forget how close to Farnborough airport we really are).
And we did it.
By 9am I was aching. Not my legs though, or my chest (I had warned the kids the night before that I may be having a heart attack the next morning and that would they name their first child after me please) but my neck. And the bit between my thumb and forefinger.
But it was over. Job done.
Well we thought it was job done. We then calculated, thanks to Google maps that phase one that I did by myself was just over 10 miles, and the bit we did along the canal was 12. Which left a shortfall of 3. So back on the bike yesterday afternoon to finish it off around the local roads in Fleet. I cannot tell you how painful that was.
Then it was truly done. Twenty five miles under my belt. And I don’t mind telling you that I am just a little bit chuffed. And a little bit proud that a) I did it and that b) I am still alive.
There is still time to donate if you would like to. My Comic Relief giving page is here: MummyBarrow’s Bike Ride