Now for something a bit different, I’m cycling to Paris! This September! Allez allez allez! Not my usual endurance challenge (truth be told, I’ve never cycled further than across London), I’m going into this as a total novice. I’ve got no idea of how tough it’s going to be, and at this point I am focusing more on the wine and the croissant stops en route than anything else — they’re gonna happen right?! All in aid of charity, I’m taking on this four-day London to Paris challenge with a small group from work, to raise money for Shelter From The Storm, a charity which focuses on homelessness.
In the UK alone, over 300,000 people are officially recorded as homeless or living in inadequate homes – and this is just scratching the surface. Shelter From The Storm is a completely free emergency night shelter which was recently forced to close its doors. Ennismore, the hospitality company I work for, is working closely with the charity to help plan, renovate and open their new permanent home in North London, so it can continue keeping vulnerable people safe.
The cycle is 311 miles in total. That’s between 70-90 miles a day (wince), with early starts and long days, and carrying all my own kit. As I say, I’ve really got no idea what I’m letting myself in for. As much as I like to think it’s gonna be all smiles and fun and evenings drinking Beaujolais, my Global Adventures registration pack arrived and I’ve come to the realisation it’s not gonna be quite so jolly. Tears, chafing and a lot of moaning are more likely...
Though I do cycle most days in London, I’m by no means a pro and am very good at sacking it off if I’m tired or it looks like there might be rain. I’ve never in my life cycled more than 20km, and I’ve got no idea how to pump up my own tyres (cringe), let alone fix a bloody puncture! I know, I know, I’ve got this right?
Joking aside, I know it is going to be super tough and I've been *trying* to squeeze the work in. I’ve been swapping gym sessions for spinning sessions to get my legs in the zone, and trying to spend as much time on the saddle as possible. That said, I need to get a wriggle on with some long practice rides — I’m thinking home to Richmond is a good place to start, and London to Brighton too…so long as there’s fish and chips at the end.
Kit too! The bike shop dude assures me my bike will be fine, so I just need to find myself a (flattering) pair of padded cycling shorts I guess. And figure out how to use cleats. If anyone has any tips, let me know because good god, the idea of having my feet trapped in anything petrifies me, let alone having to add balance and moving wheels into the mix. I hear they massively increase pedal efficiency though and I don’t really wanna be still in Dover while everyone else has made it to the Arc de Triomphe…
Now for the plea. I’m really not one to ask for money or beg for support, but as this is all in the name of charity, I’d love to ask for your help. We’ve set an ambitious group fundraising target of £20,000, which sounds like a lot but I’m confident is do-able. Whether you can give £1 or £10, I’d be super grateful for your support, not only to help motivate me to train (come rain or shine…) but for the great cause we’re supporting.