Nearly 10 days after the ride finished with some champagne spraying and a nice sit down in Gloucestershire, I can finally look back on what we have achieved with 25 Years 25 Counties.
After nearly 18 months of planning and four months of serious training, I had some reservations about the ride: whether I could manage it physically; how much money we would raise; and most importantly, would we get lost all the time?
Thankfully the ride surpassed my expectations in every way possible. Thanks and massive respect must go to my fellow “hardcore” riders John Lonsdale, John “The Hat” Williams, Neil Speakman and Paul Hirons – who did every mile with me, keeping calm and cheerful in the face of diversions, uphill routes and late arrivals. Also to my Dad, the support car driver, who smoothed our path throughout, passed the collection box round everywhere we visited, and kept us motivated on the hard days. And to everyone else who joined the ride along the way – too many to mention individually, but their support and effort was massively appreciated.
The facts are: 555 miles; max speed of 42 miles per hour (somewhere in Shropshire I think); approx. 20,000 feet of climbing (and a similar amount of descending); 120 Dorset Cereal Bars (thanks guys!) eaten; and no serious injuries. We were blessed with good weather virtually throughout and although we didn’t break any speed records, in terms of attitude, commitment and good spirits we could have taken on anyone.
I must also thank the generosity of people who have donated – at the time of writing we have raised £18,320, with the hope of pushing £20,000. My initial target was £10,000, which I thought was ambitious, and I am genuinely amazed how much we have raised, especially given that it has all been through individual gifts, not corporately funded or matched by workplaces. Also we have had great press coverage: as well as a fair few local radio interviews and local press, we had a mention on the Chris Evans breakfast show and a full page in the Sunday Express, way more than I thought we would ever get.
As for the ride itself, it was terrific – a few too many hills and a few too many miles on some days, but largely beautiful scenery, a great atmosphere and to see everyone riding along wearing the Cycling To Beat Blood Cancer tops was a fantastic sight. I put a lot of work into this, but I’m glad to say it paid off and then some. Please help us reach our (revised) target of £20,000 if you haven’t donated already, at www.justgiving.com/25years25counties
Thanks for reading.