Sum up your memories about the trip, Bike the UK for MS as a whole and the adventure you experienced.
I would say its one of the best experiences I have ever done! The bonds you make, spending so much time with people is amazing, I defiantly had JOGLE blues when I got home. Also, the route we did was so beautiful it really makes you appreciate how pretty our country is right from tip to tip. For two weeks you literally don’t have a care in the world, and you are just meeting some pretty inspiring people.
What’s your favourite memory from your trip?
There are so many, it’s hard to pick one! Early on Betty Hill was amazing, but also Loch Ness was a good day. The Scottish Highlands where definitely very memorable!
What is your age?
What made you want to ride your bike across the country?
I wanted a challenge, and doing it for a great charity.
Where do you live?
What is your profession?
Masters Student in Sports Psychology
What routes/years did you ride with Bike the UK for MS?
John O’Groats to Land’s End 2018
Do you have a connection to Multiple Sclerosis?
No connection, it was great to learn about it. I really enjoyed meeting all the inspiring MS warriors along the way.
How many miles did you clock in before the trip?
I generally keep myself quite fit, but a month or two running up to the trip I made sure I went on some long rides 80kmish with a few hills too.
What was your cycling experience before signing up?
I started cycling at university in my second year, so I had tackled a few Bath hills at least!
Where did you find the most success fundraising?
I did a fundraising BBQ where everyone brought £10 which was a fun way to fundraise. Then just through social media, friends and family.
What was your biggest challenge while fundraising, or something that didn’t work as well as you thought it might?
I think it would have been better to do more organised stuff like the BBQ so people you are asking get something out of it too. Social media doesn’t get as much response as you think it would.
Embarking on any big trip can be intimidating. What was your biggest pre-trip worry?
I think the biggest worry was that people would be super speedy, and you would be left among the highland cows in the north of Scotland. Lucky this wasn’t the case, and we made little groups and everyone looks out for each other which is good (especially when my mechanics skills are a little questionable!).
How did you travel to and from the trip?
I flew to inverness, then got a coach to John O’Groats (which was surprising easy even though I left it last minute.). After the ride I got the national Express bus to London Victoria-which was really good I could just sleep on the bus.
Did you buy a bike for the trip, or was it a bike you already had?
No I used the bike I already had, pretty nice and road bike- so Freddie the Fuji was up for the challenge as much as I was.
What is something you wish you had brought which you didn’t?
Can’t think of anything.
What’s one thing you brought that you couldn’t have lived without?
Warm clothes – even though we where really lucky with the weather, nights still got cold! My trackies and hoodies I lived in when I wasn’t on the bike!
What’s one thing you brought that you wish you hadn’t?
Didn’t bring a huge amount, so was happy with everything I brought.
Is there anything you spent a bit more money on that you were glad you did?
I think your cycling kit specifically cycling shorts are worth the money. You have long days in the saddle so comfy shorts are the best and they are generally a little bit more expensive.
How much casual clothes (t-shirts, shorts, etc) did you bring?
I had a couple of shorts, and one pair of leggings and one pair of trackies.
How many pairs of cycling shorts/bibs did you bring?
What type of camping gear did you bring?
All I brought was mess pot, sleeping bag, sleeping matt and one really good pop up tent (not so good pop down though).
What was your favourite van snack?
Lots of Banana’s and snack a jacks.
How often would you go out to eat?
Not that often as there where often kitchen facilities where we were staying. Probably went out four times including rest day and the final night.
Would you cook at camp often? If so, what was your favourite recipe?
Yes quite a lot, jacket potatoes, beans and cheese was a nice easy option which became a bit of a staple.
What did you put in your day cubby (in the rest stop van)?
Banana, cereal bars, warm clothes.
Did you prefer to ride alone or in a group?
100% in a group.
Do you listen to music while riding?
Nope we just had chin wags in our group.
What would you keep in your bike jersey pockets?
Spare inner tubes, food, and my Gopro selfie stick (most important obviously)
Did you use a rack/saddle bag/handlebar bag?
Saddle bag- to put some tools and pump in.
What type of tyres did you ride?
Did you use a bike computer? What was your normal pace?
Yes, used a Garmin Edge. 20-24kph.
How long did it take to learn to read the maps?
I was a bit bad and used the Garmin more than the maps (sorry James! Liked looking at the elevation on them though).
Riding on a flat terrain with a headwind, or climbing a mountain pass for miles. Which do you prefer?
I think climbing a mountain pass, wind is the enemy!
Would you rather be riding through cold rain or extreme heat?
Probably extreme heat, would prefer to be warm than cold. Although I don’t mind normal rain.
What was the most physically challenging segment for you?
Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District was a toughy but was still a lot of fun!
Were you an early riser, or rolling out of camp late?
I was an early riser, but also sometimes rolling out of camp late – not really sure how, probably because we all liked chatting.
When you got to camp, the first thing you did was….
Set up sleeping stuff, or if we were camping then put up a tent. Showering was also near the top of the list when getting to camp. Then again chatting was also very often at the top of the list.
How often would you do laundry?
Whenever they had the facilities to do it, I would do it.
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?
We did a lot of things, particular games. We played a lot of games in camp from card games to wink murder type games. There was always good atmosphere!
How many sink/hose showers did you take?
I think only two, we had quite good shower facilities which was good!
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?
It was action packed seeing the sites and exploring which was a lot of fun! We also did some adapted bike riding with the Bath MS group which was really fun!
Did you keep a journal or blog during the trip?
No I didn’t, wish I had it was a great trip and a lot of funny memories.
Do you keep in touch with many of your teammates?
Yeah! Keep in touch with quite a few, and I am actually now going out with one of them!
What was your favourite MS group meet up?
I think it has to be the Dumbarton group on the Glasgow day, there was a massive turnout, and they all loved a good chinwag and the spread they put on for us was amazing!
Do you feel like you are more aware of the impact that MS has on the lives of those affected by it?
Yes, definitely! It was amazing hearing people’s stories and learning about the symptoms both now and early on in there diagnoses. We also had a girl doing JOGLE with us who had MS, which is pretty girl boss right there!
What was your biggest takeaway from the trip?
I think the people defiantly, both the friends I made on the ride and all the amazing MS people we met too!