Hello, I’m Alison Lee, and last year I entered the London Bikeathon for the first time, doing the 26 mile route.
Until 2012 I knew nothing about blood cancers or Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (“Isn’t leukaemia a type of skin cancer?”). Then I took part in an amateur production of Calendar Girls, a play of the film based on the true story of Angela Baker, whose husband died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As a result of our production, we were able to make a substantial donation to LLR.
A year later, I was challenged to ride in London Bikeathon 2014, and blog about my experience. Being vaguely fit, I accepted the challenge, even though, at that point, I hadn’t owned or ridden a bike for some years, so knew I would have to do some advance training.
With a borrowed bike I turned up at the start point on a glorious August Sunday morning. The 52 milers had already set off, but the field was a sea of red – LLR t-shirts and cycling jackets everywhere! – with all my fellow 26 milers having a final coffee or bacon sandwich.
Setting off in smallish groups we soon spread out, caught up with previous groups, got caught by later groups, creating a 26 mile string of red around Docklands and the North Bank of the Thames to Battersea Bridge and round the Park.
As an extra boost last year, on the trip home, while waiting for a train at Clapham Junction, a stranger came up to us, seeing our t-shirts, said “Have you just done a charity ride for Leukaemia Research? Well done. My father died of leukaemia, can I give you some money?” and handed us £10 to add to our sponsorship.
I’m happy to be repeating the journey this year, only this time I’ll be one of the early risers on the 52 mile trip, aiming to raise another £300.