Monday, June 24, 2024

cycling for charity

This month, as I end up doing every summer, I embarked on a charity fundraiser. My cause this time was Cancer Research UK. The challenge is to cycle 300 miles in June (and obviously raise some money).

The last time I took up a cycling challenge, was in April 2021 when I decided to cycle 410 kilometres in a month to raise money for people displaced by climate change. I didn't even have an e-bike back then, and the office was closed for the pandemic so all my cycling had to be done in my free time. We were also in the middle of closing the purchase of our home and then moving to it, so it was a lot to balance! In fact, I'm surprised I got to 400km the first 3 weeks of that month - I was literally going to do 10km in laps of the waterworks (a circular park barely 2km from home) on the last week but that was right in the middle of packing and moving and was obviously impossible. I did set a personal record for longest ride (Belfast to Moira, 70km round trip) which I've only bested once (the around mumbai ride in November 2021, a cool 107 km!)

Anyway, back to this month. 482 km isn't that much more than 410, and it seemed somewhat achievable when I signed up - I was hoping to get the miles in after work, and given I'll have to a minimum of 6 miles (the return trip to work) thrice a week anyway, that'd be quarter of my distance already done and dusted. My strategy was to do two longish rides after work, keeping the middle day strictly a commute, and then doing one more ride over the weekend. It seemed like a decent strategy as I managed 70 miles in the first week, which put me slightly below but close enough to the target.

And then, week 2 happened. Cycling through an unknown neighbourhood after work, two boys accosted me and tried to take my cycle off me. The standoff lasted almost 15 minutes, and left me very shaken. The next day involved a ride to the police station and a few hours spent submitting my report of the incident. Since then, I have been struggling when it comes to getting out and riding. Even though I know it was an isolated incident and I have been cycling around equally if not worse neighbourhoods, in the dark, etc., I can't shake that fear of the incident recurring. After that day, I've mostly simply taken roundabout routes home, avoiding unfamiliar roads. In fact, I've even taken to doing laps of the waterworks, although I don't think I've managed 10 km.

Last weekend was the longest ride of this month, one that has actually been on my bucket list for a while, even though I wasn't sure if I was fully up for it: Belfast to Bangor (and back) by the coastal path. It was scenic, and Sunday was a beautiful day for it, even though I started at almost 3pm, which was much later than I had planned. Still, just 38 miles, so not a significant dent towards my target.

As of today, I have 6 days and 99 miles left. I really don't know how I'm going to achieve it. I'm not feeling my best to begin with, which makes it even harder. Let's see.

Anyway, while cycling is one of the goals, the other one is funraising. So if I've not lost all my readers by now, here's how you can donate:

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