When I was a kid I used to love cycling. I was lucky enough to have had a BMX, Racer & Mountain Bike in my childhood years, but then the late teenage years hit, cars, nightclubs and girls took over and the two wheels were dumped.
This is all very well, you may be thinking, and probably nothing unusual in the life path of most kids who had a bike that then don’t as an adult, but what has this got to do with photography, this is a photography blog afterall…..well, nothing apart from that I’m a photographer, but please stick with me, it’ll only take a few mins for you to read through this and I’d really really appreciate it if you did.
16 months ago, 4 months before my 40th birthday I decided my fitness and health needed to be more of a priority than it was, so I looked into getting a mountain bike, and soon after I got one. Amazingly in my first year on it I covered 1427.4 kilometers and my fitness certainly took a big step forward, but then winter hit, the trails became to muddy to ride and riding stopped.
I could have ridden the roads, but with those fat chunky tyres grinding away on the tarmac it was neither fun nor efficient. The drag from those tyres makes road riding with a mountain bike tedious at best.
4 Months have passed since I last got on the mountain bike, mainly due to the bad weather we’ve had, but some of it is purely down to the amount of time it takes to get out for a good off-road ride. Round the Gatwick area we are simply not blessed with good off road riding. Tilgate Park used to have a maintained set of trails for bikes, but that was decommissioned, so that leaves the Worth Way, and once you’ve been up and down that 5 times it gets a tad boring. There are other options like going up and down cycle route 21 from Crawley to Redhill, but that to is uninspiring after 2 or 3 rides.
The good riding is found up in the Surrey Hills in the Leith Hill, Albury, Peaslake areas and there is so much to do there you can’t get bored, nor can you switch off, you have to have your wits about you most of the time as it can be a fun, exhilarating ride at times. The only downside is the time it takes from my day to go ride in the hills. Say I need 30 mins before heading off to prep the bike, get a drink sorted, get changed and all my gear together and bike on top of the car. Then it’s a 35 min drive to the Surrey Hills. Two hours riding are needed to get a decent distance done off-road, then its 35 mins car drive home with 30 mins to sort out and shower. Making a mountain bike trip out take up 4 hours 10 minutes of my day, and I just couldn’t and can’t spare that anymore, well certainly not on a weekly basis.
Well, I’ve had a hankering for a road bike, to be honest since I got the mountain bike. It was a toss up as to which I would get in the first place, but fun won over practicality, and so luckily I now have one. I took it out for its first spin on Sunday in order to test it and me. It was superb. The difference between a heavy-ish mountain bike with fat tyres and a light road bike with tyres no wider than a 50p is incredible. The rolling resistance on the road is worlds apart, getting up to speed on this thing is so easy. The testing me bit, well I surprised myself as I covered 26km in just over an hour, but I struggled quite a bit with the hills, though none defeated me.
I went out again today for another ride, this time managing just over 30km in 1 hour 24 mins, again the hills hurt, but none defeated me again, so I’m happy with that.
What I’m even more pleased with is the amount of time it takes to get a decent ride in. 20 min prep, straight out and ride, 1 hour 20 mins to cover 30km, 20 min sort out and shower. 2 hours total, far easier to stitch that into any day than using over 4 hours to achieve the same fitness goals, and so this should allow me to actually do myself some good on the fitness front, and with that I’ve set myself a challenge.
54 miles of road riding from Clapham Common to Brighton Seafront, with some big old hills along the way, most notably the hill from Ditchling village up to the top of Ditchling Beacon, and what am I doing it for. Well it’s the British Heart Foundation, and why?, well not just because of the challenge and the fitness, but because it’s 30 years since I lost my Grandad, Peter Larkin, to a heart attack. It happened when I was 11 years old and I still miss him now and just feel it would be an honour to do something for charity by riding this great event in his name.
So, here’s the catch, I’m looking for some sponsorship, a little donation here or there to get me somewhere near my target. I really didn’t know what to set as a target, so kinda plumped for £800 as I thought to low wouldn’t be ambitious enough but to high wouldn’t be achievable, I hope I’ve been realistic, so if you could help me get there I would be hugely appreciative.
To donate there are two options. In the UK you can quite simply text with your mobile the following code “NUTY54” plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070, for example….. NUTY54 £1 …. Or you can use the following link to visit my Just Giving page to donate there.
I would really really appreciate a little bit of support with this and it really only needs to be £1, £2, £3, or more if you can really spare it, and if you can then huge thanks to you.
Well wish me luck, I have plenty of training to get through, which will probably mean a few early mornings to ensure these rides get done without them getting in the way of my normal working life.
Many thanks again