Sum up your memories about the trip.

I wish I could just hug the team and transfer the love I feel for this trip because words don’t do it justice. Day after day and hour after hour I was in awe of how beautiful these countries are. The ride was a true physical and mental grind for two weeks, but the sense of accomplishment you feel is worth it. Life changing experience for you and all the people with MS you have helped. I think I’ve just convinced myself to do this trip again!

What’s your favourite memory from your trip?

I have two. 1) Seeing MS patients smile and laugh like children at the joy of riding the special modified bikes. 2) riding in the sunset of the golden hours and seeing the hills and mountains in that beautiful light. 

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What is your age?

35

What made you want to ride your bike across the country?  

Riding cross country is a beautiful, up close and intimate way to see the people and places of the country. 

Where do you live?

San Francisco, California

What is your profession?

Ford GoBike fleet coordinator / unemployed traveller. 

What routes/years did you ride with Bike the UK for MS?  

LEJOG 2018.

Pretty much every Bike the US for MS ride too!

Do you have a connection to Multiple Sclerosis?

After riding 7 trips with Bike the UK/ US for MS, I have made connections with people living with MS all over the world. It’s an honour to ride and raise funds for them. 

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Pre-trip

How much training did you do for your trip?

A few hundred miles in the months leading up.

What was your cycling experience before signing up?

I had participated in a handful of long distance rides in the past, but I only biked a few hundred miles in the months leading up to the trip.

Where did you find the most success fundraising?

Creating a Facebook fundraiser page makes it very easy for friends and family to donate without going to a secondary page.

Embarking on any big trip can be intimidating. What was your biggest pre-trip worry?

I have been looking forward to this trip for years, so my only worry was how to ship my bike there and back, but you will review detailed tips about that.

How did you travel to and from the trip?

Buses plus trains and even one ferry since I added a stop to Ireland beforehand.

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Gear

Did you buy a bike for the trip, or was it a bike you already had?

I bought a folding bike for the trip, but my trusty old road bike would have worked just fine.

What is something you wish you had brought which you didn’t?

A power bank to keep your cellphone charged on long ride days or if there aren’t enough outlets at camp.

What’s one thing you brought that you couldn’t have lived without?

Multiple cameras and memory cards. There is so much to see!

Is there anything you spent a bit more money on that you were glad you did?

Entrance fees for castles. You’ll see a lot, all beautiful in their own way.

Likewise, is there something you wish you’d spent more money on?

I got the cheapest and thinnest sleeping pad available. My back and hip bones did not appreciate that. 

How much casual clothes (t-shirts, shorts, etc) did you bring?

A sweatshirt, rain jacket, pair of shorts, pair of pants, a pair of shoes, a couple of shirts and a weeks worth of underwear and socks.

How many pairs of cycling shorts/bibs did you bring?

Zero. I put a pad on my seat rather than in my shorts. This takes a different type of training experience.

What type of camping gear did you bring? 

A tarp for extra protection and a basic tent served me quite well.

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Food

What was your favourite van snack?

I eat so much trail mix I gain weight on this trips.

How often would you go out to eat?

A snack stop or two on the road as needed and a proper meal about every other night.

Would you cook at camp often? If so, what was your favourite recipe?

Salt and protein (aka crisps and a can of beans).

What did you put in your day cubby (in the rest stop van)?

Sunscreen, rain jacket, backup snacks, more snacks, and some extra clothes just incase.

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On-the-bike

Did you prefer to ride alone or in a group?

I rode alone to take pictures, relax, and visit historical sites.

What would you keep in your bike jersey pockets?

Snacks, maps, and anything I would need before the next rest stop.

Did you use a rack/saddle bag/handlebar bag?

Handle bar bags are great for small things like snacks, maps, sun glasses, sun screen and your phone. If you want to have your rain gear, or a nice camera a rack is very helpful.

What type of tyres did you ride?

28” tires ran a little slower but were great for tough tarmac and gravel. 

Did you use a bike computer? What was your normal pace?

Not any more because I feel like I stare at that rather than the beautiful world around me. While riding, 10-12mph. Over the course of the day about 5mph because I have to stop for every castle, old church, and the occasional animal that needs to be pet.

How long did it take to learn to read the maps?

It only takes a day or two to navigate through the country side. Your leaders will give you tips on how to ride through some of the few big cities If you’re having trouble with the map.

Riding on a flat terrain with a headwind, or climbing a mountain pass for miles. Which do you prefer?

Mountain pass! You can see where the pain will end and you have the reward of a view. The wind is an invisible assassin and you don’t know when or where it will attack.

Would you rather be riding through cold rain or extreme heat?

Give me rain! Soggy clothes are only annoying once you stop, but that heat can stop you in your tracks.

What was the most physically challenging segment for you?

The Dartmoor and into Cornwall was a tough set up climb after climb after climb after…

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Routine

When you got to camp, the first thing you did was….

Grab some food before shops close ( I would get in real late) or get out of my smelly cycling clothes. Your body and buddies will thank you.

How often would you do laundry?

I packed enough essentials so I would only have to do laundry once or twice. 

It’s the evening and you’re out of your bike clothes, fed, and your tent is pitched. What are you doing to pass the time until you fell asleep?

Prep everything for the next day so I can get up and go. Or, look at my pictures so I can remember what a great day I had.

On the rest day, did you prefer to go out and see what the town has to offer, or did you hang out, rest up, and relax?

A bit of both. I remember meeting up with the MS society in the morning. Doing laundry and watching a cricket game near by midday. Tuning up the bike in the evening then finding the local castle for sunset.

Did you keep a journal or blog during the trip?

I didn’t have enough time to journal everyday, but I took about 100+ pictures everyday, so I could easily remember everything when I wrote in my journal after the trip.

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Reflecting

Do you keep in touch with many of your teammates?

I enjoy seeing what they are up to on Facebook. 

What was your favourite MS group meet up?

Meeting with the MS Society on the rest day. Nice conversations and great activities  

Do you feel like you are more aware of the impact that MS has on the lives of those affected by it?

These charity ride have kept me informed about the latest research and introduced me to people who can share their personal stories about life with MS. 

What was your biggest takeaway from the trip?

Life can be so beautiful and meaningful if you set out and search for it.