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  • Writer's pictureStars and Spokes

May 2020. 500 miles in a month, and NHS fundraising to the max!

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Central London at Dawn. Quite pleasant actually!

Whilst Dan and I are geographically split (him in Germany, me in London), technology is such that we can continue to sync our training (think Strava). With that in mind, this month we set ourselves the goal of both completing 500 miles in our respective locations. Now, seasoned cyclists will point out that this isn’t a huge figure, but then neither Dan nor I are seasoned cyclists; it seemed like a reasonable goal to set ourselves for this point in our training. Both achieved the figure, encouragingly by some margin in both cases, which bodes well for the coming months when our monthly totals will be approaching 1000 miles in some months. We even managed to get in a few 100 mile rides during the month, which resulted in some early starts! But as the picture atop shows, even central London can be beautiful early in the morning before the crowds awake. I even made it out to Windsor Castle, zero Queen interaction was achieved though. Disappointingly.

Casual bike lean against the wall at Windsor Castle

With coronavirus still impacting exercise in the UK, I took to the turbo trainer. This is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, because it’s without doubt one of the most boring ways to undertake exercise (for me, personally – I know some masochists love the Zwift action!). For us, the whole enjoyment of exercise is that it takes you to amazing bits of the outdoors world, this is an experience you can’t replicate on a computer in your front room. Zwift does not replace proper bike riding. Fact. Even if you dress your little Zwift avatar in a lovely outfit, it’s still boring. Double fact.

However, a mutual friend put me in touch with Mark Beaumont (he of cycling around the world fame!), who set up a fundraising effort which saw participants all jumping on their turbo trainers for several hours each Thursday during lockdown, in order to complete 100 miles in their respective houses. The aim was to raise as much money as possible for the NHS Charities, an extremely worthwhile cause, we collectively ended up raising £231k during the month of May – an epic amount! Secretly, I am extremely glad that the UK Government subsequently relaxed the lockdown restrictions, as I’m not sure I could have managed many more 7-hour Thursday turbo training sessions in my 1-bedroom London flat (please see picture below for the set up)….! Mission accomplished, and stacks of money going to a great cause.

£231k raised for NHS Charities, on the turbo

More generally, we are now approaching the ‘12 months to go’ point, quite an important milestone and the point at which the training plan will properly commence. We will also be getting our heads together over the coming weeks, with a view to agreeing some challenges to accomplish each month between now and our July 2021 start date, with COVID-19 having slightly scuppered that aim in recent months.

In summary, it’s been an unusual few months of late, but we’ve managed to adapt and overcome. Current signs are that the lockdown is easing, and a welcome return to normality should be achieved in the coming weeks.

Stay safe, and let’s avoid a second coronavirus peak!

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