Cycling to work – a challenge

I started working in the centre of Nottingham over 7 years ago and had always the intention of cycling to work (it is a 10 mile round trip with an uphill bit at each end, but otherwise flat – can do 12 mile round trip if I go via the canal tow path). I even bought a bike (used to have one years ago!)

However, I had lifts with colleagues pretty regularly, and we have an excellent bus service, and the inertia and whatever – needless to say, I didn’t cycle in.

This summer I decided to start cycling. I unsiezed the chain, pumped up the tyres and cycled round to the local shop (about 1/4 mile away). Took me an hour to recover from the exertion. A few days later I tried again and it took 10 mins to recover (progress!). I cycled around the block (maybe a mile) and thought “I won’t get all the way in to work at this rate”.

About to give up, when I noticed the company’s cycling club had decided to do an “Around the world in 80 days” challenge between 20 July and 7 October to raise money for the Thomson Reuters Emergency Information Service (EIS). So I thought, I’d try cycling in.

After the first week or two (time went down from 1h43 first attempt to around 1h) I though I’d better set a challenge for myself – so I decided to do 621.5 miles in 80 days (that is 1/40th of the way round the world). This was somewhat more than my commute: with annual leave and weekends, I only had 44 days (440 miles) commuting.

As it happens, I managed to keep up commuting – 37 days – and did some cycling beyond that (including 48 miles in September as part of the Nottinghamshire Historic Churches Ride & Stride when we visited 22 churches in South Notts). I find that cycling to and from work is no longer than getting the bus. In fact I usually beat the bus because I’m not waiting for the bus to arrive, and I always have a seat! (Oh the shower at work is really nice – our office has something of a cycling culture so we have secure bike parking and showers and changing rooms).

It means that I now do about 1 hour exercise each working day (which is an increase from the round about zero exercise) without it actually taking any more day. At least once a week I go through the nature reserve and along the canal and see a little more of God’s creation too! I used to go to the gym (too many years ago) but I found that it tended to be quite boring, and took a lot of time and needed too much planning.

And the challenge? I acheived my initial “round the world” target at the end of September with 8 days to go (and beat it by at over 60 miles!). So next challenge is to up it to 1000 miles before Christmas! I’m about three quarters of the way through with about 250 miles to go. The real challenge will be as the weather gets more wintery – and to keep going in the wind and hail.

If anyone feels inclined to contribute to my challenge raising money for the EIS.

Please mention my name if you make a gift, and drop me a line so I can thank you!

Anyway, my daughter is taking credit for me cycling – she bought a bike over the summer.

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