So how do you prepare for something you’ve never done before? That’s what I was thinking when Peter and I decided to ‘treat’ ourselves to taking on the Ride Across Britain (RAB) last year.
Keen cyclists, but by no means fanatical, we’d always had the RAB as a ‘bucket list’ achievement.
A few Etapes, a couple of multi-day mountain bike events, and plenty of UK Cycling events across Britain, were our ten years experience to date. But despite all that, we signed up!
We can honestly say it didn’t just surpass our highest expectations as a pure cycling experience, but it was also like having a month off!
We both trained but we weren’t sure what to expect. The training programme supplied by RAB is excellent as a rough guide of where you need to be, and is worth following as closely as is practical.
We rode multiple UK cycling events in Sussex, Dorset, the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and Hampshire, amongst many others and it makes doing the miles so much easier. There are only so many times anyone wants to go up Box hill!
However prepared you think you are, it is still a challenge. But, and it’s a big but, the experience and organisation of Threshold just makes it so much easier.
You need to cycle, eat and sleep….nothing else. They had thought of everything and a little bit more… from turning up without pedals and helmet (no problem), eating (the food is exceptional, plentiful and delicious every day), route planning (discussed each evening), medical (whatever hurts the medical staff have seen it before) to motivation – there is a very good reason the motto is “more in you” that you will discover.
The ride across Britain
Despite the weather being as awful as it possibly could have been – and not getting a camera out until Day 3 – we loved every mile we rode, especially Scotland. Although you do learn rain hurts at speeds over 35 mph!
There were plenty of hard miles, but it really was a team effort. Riding with Steve Bates, Sense’s ambassador and Paralympian, and others we met along the way who we stayed with the rest of the 960 miles, was the ultimate Team effort.
We inspired, cajoled and encouraged each other (and plenty of others), as we sat behind Steve, riding the whole way on his ‘fat bike’! He was a true inspiration, obviously an incredible cyclist, brilliant motivator and just someone you were happy to spend eight hours a day chatting to! No surprise to see “easy has no value” inscribed on Steve’s bike!
All shapes and sizes finish. Ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Not athletes. The RAB bubble gets everyone through. An average age of 44 years old in 2017 tells you where it is on people’s bucket lists! And all the while you are riding, not just for you, but for Sense, who support disabled children and adults with complex communication needs. An incredible cause that Peter and I were so proud to be part of.
Sense were so helpful with tips and guidance, and offered invaluable support. To see Emma and the crew midweek at the Charity Day was a real treat.
We are all still in contact. We still talk about the ride. We would encourage anybody who has been tempted to participate. You will not regret the commitment and you will not forget a moment!
Learn more about Ride Across Britain and signup with Sense, one of its Gold Charity Partners.