This year a determined fundraising team from ‘Just Retirement’ will cycle from London to Paris to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The team of 10 will take to the famous route in May, cycling all the way to La belle France, ending their epic journey at the Eiffel Tower (where else!). En route, they’ll pass through beautiful English and French towns, all in the name of charity.
Above: Previous London to Paris enthusiasts!
Some of the group are keen cyclists and others haven’t undertaken (or even considered!) exercise in a while – it just goes to show how far determination and a good cause can get you!
We wanted to find out a little more about the cycling dream team; James, Brendan and Rick from the group tell us their own personal reasons behind the challenge.
Having not done any exercise of note since February 2013, and having not owned a bicycle for several years, you’re probably wondering why I have decided to join the Just Retirement team on the London to Paris bike ride.
Why am I doing this? I often ask myself this question whilst in the middle of a training ride or spin class. The main reason is that it will raise a lot of money for a very worthy cause. I was shocked to learn that there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. It has a huge impact on their lives and the lives of their family and friends. Sadly I know this through personal experience.
My late grandmother suffered from dementia caused by Alzheimer’s in her later years, and as it progressed it got to the point where she did not recognise me or my brother. I found this as upsetting as when she ultimately passed away. Also, my mother has just turned 60 and I get very concerned when she forgets little things as there is a genetically inherited element to Alzheimer’s which one day could affect me as well.
The second reason was to challenge myself physically. I turn 30 this year and have set myself the target of getting in shape by my birthday in November. I aim to be the weight I was when I was 20 which requires me to lose 3 stone. I have found that having something to train for helps hugely with my motivation.
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s goal is to defeat dementia, and along with some of the UK’s top scientists they’re making strides in understanding the causes, diagnosis, prevention and cure. Hopefully the money we raise can help them with their research and will make a difference to millions of people.
It’s still early days but I am already over half way in terms of my personal fund raising target. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated and been supportive of me and the team so far. James
From someone brand new to cycling to an avid cyclist we move on to Brendan. Remember- London to Paris is for anyone – a bit of training and you’re well on your way to taking part in the epic challenge.
I took up cycling five years ago with a drinking buddy to keep fit, having quit smoking six years ago. It was also to help keep the weight off, and it allows me enjoy my beer much more! I will be 51 in March.
Cycling quickly became my main hobby and I joined my local club, Wetherby Wheelers, three years ago. I go out with the club every Sunday with rides of 50-110 miles. I now have five road bikes: a time-trial bike, a touring bike, and two mountain bikes.
I have done numerous ‘sportives’, including The York 100 (four times), Pocklinton 100 (twice), and The White Rose Classic, which is 113 miles and 9,000 feet of climbing. I take my bike to Lanzarote for two weeks every June and get up at 7:30am most mornings to explore the island until about 1pm. I am going to Mallorca for the third time in April (20-27) for a week’s cycling holiday, with daily rides in the mountainous north, so ideal prep for London to Paris.
My cycling weakness is the hills, as I have always been around 14 stone. I can get up any hill as I make sure I have the right gears on my bike, but not at the pace of lighter riders. However, get me on the flat and I can do 18-20mph all day long.
So why am I doing London- Paris for Alzheimer’s research? In my job, I have come across cases where clients or their partners/family are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and because of this I would like to make a contribution to help find a cure, or understand better how we deal with it. Doing something I enjoy represents the perfect platform for me to do this, especially as Just Retirement is so generously matching the funds we raise.
What do I hope to achieve from the trip? I have no doubt that I have the ability to complete the four days and 300 miles, but I hope we achieve it as a group and all enjoy a new experience together, just so long as I win the ‘sprint’ on The Champs Elysees and get to put on ‘The Green Jersey’ like Mark Cavendish! No seriously, this is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I am going to savour every moment. Maybe next year we can up the ante and do it in 24 hours? Brendan
Having cycled 240 miles over four days through Cornwall, Devon and Somerset two years ago, when I saw this opportunity I thought I’d love to give France a go this time!
You may well read this and think ‘he’ll have no problems then’, but when I did my previous ride I got shin splints and ended up not being able to drive for two weeks afterwards, and I was not able to cycle again until last summer. As a result I’ve only done a bit of cycling over these past few months and was looking for a motivator to get me back into something I really enjoy doing. A good cause is always the best reason! Having only started at JR in 2013, I also thought it’d help me get to know a few more people in the company.
My training so far has been reasonably limited, particularly due to having my bike away being serviced, meaning I’ve just been spinning and doing some general exercise so far. I’ve also had a dry January to try to be a bit more healthy and to offset all the chocolate I eat – I pretty much keep Cadbury’s in business single-handedly!
I won’t be able to ride a road bike like the majority of riders, as my back won’t let me stay hunched over all day long, even though my physio is currently trying to sort this out for me. So I shall be on a hybrid (pretty much a mountain bike but with slicker tyres) which will mean I’ll be a touch slower, but will mean I can ride more comfortably over the four days and 300 miles. It’ll be a marathon not a sprint after all. There are some great off-road routes near where I live in Church Crookham, so having a hybrid means I can go off-road when training if I wish to as well – which can sometimes be very handy, especially for using the scenic canal towpaths.
I’m looking forward to increasing my training leading up to the big day, when we will then ride 95 miles between 7am and 4pm on the first day (hopefully in time to catch the ferry across to France) before some great scenery through little villages over the next three days on the way down to the finish at the Eiffel Tower!
Skyline and Doitforcharity would like to say a huge good luck to the cyclists both with their training and their fundraising, we can’t wait to hit the road for London to Paris this Year!
Take a look at the teams’ fundraising page here: http://www.doitforcharity.com/justretirement
INTERESTED? Book yourself onto the London to Paris Cycle here: http://www.charitycyclerides.co.uk/