My true love has always been cycling, from when I was a young lad bombing about on a “chopper” or my Raleigh “chico”, to riding a BMX in the 1980’s, before moving on to mountain bikes in the 1990’s. I have always watched the cycling whenever it has been on TV, I remember watching Robert Millar and Stephen Roche in the late 1980’s when they were riding bikes that looked just like mine. They were winning the big races of the time, along with Sean Kelly and the other big names in the sport.
The Tour de France was always the race to watch back then with the iconic finish along the Champs-Elysées. But who’d have thought that many years later I would be contemplating doing the same thing.
The London to Paris bike ride has grown in stature and now sits as one of the great cycle experiences in Europe. This ride has grown from a few cycling enthusiasts to organised rides taking place almost every week, many of them to raise money for charity. It had become a challenge that I want to complete and I now had the motivation to do so, the fight against cancer.
The distances I will cycle are fairly long, varying from 90 – 145km per day; I have had to make sure that I am fit enough to manage these distances. The first day cycling from London to Dover will be particularly strenuous with some tough climbs.
These challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. I am in my 40’s and have not kept myself in the best of shape as my footballing days are long behind me. But I have been training hard to achieve this challenge and now regularly cycle over 200km a week in preparation. The challenge is designed so that everyone can go at their own pace: thankfully it is not a race and I for one will be pleased to complete it. It will give me a real sense of achievement and all for a great cause in supporting Macmillan Cancer Support.
Departure day is rapidly approaching, the challenge starts on the 2nd July and I will cycle through the Parisian streets, sweeping around the Arc de Triomphe and down the famed Champs-Elysées to our finish beneath the lofty arches of the Eiffel Tower.
I know that this challenge will leave me in a whole new world of pain and it will be a challenge.
Feelings of excitement and nervousness are now starting to bite as the event gets ever closer, just 6 weeks away but I have complete faith in myself. I know I can do this. I will make it to Paris on two wheels!