Sum up your memories about the trip.

I have had so many great memories from the both when I did the trip and when I route led it a year after, from laughs about each other’s blunders to seeing some of the best scenery in the UK.

Bike the UK for MS offers riders such an amazing experience which I will never forget and a taste of how to explore places – I have ridden so much more since the trip to places that I never thought I would. Its link with Bike the US for MS means that once you’ve done this trip you are more likely to go and do one of the America trips and continue to meet new people, make new friends and learn more about MS.

The adventure of a lifetime!!

What’s your favourite memory from your trip?

Honestly too many – I had so many laughs and memories to hold from it.

But– riding up Glencoe in Scotland as a group of 4 and seeing the view at the top. Or riding along Loch Ness in beautiful blue skies.

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What is your age?

20 (I was 19 when I did the trip).

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

I love riding my bike and exploring new places I’d never been. This trip was a perfect way to see the country and make awesome new friends for life along the way!

Where do you live?

Derby

What is your profession?

Student at University of Bath

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

2017 – JOGLE

2018 – JOGLE Route Leader

Do you have a connection to Multiple Sclerosis?

No

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Pre-trip

How much training did you do for your trip?

I continued with my normal cycling and triathlon training and that was enough. Towards the end of May and June, I did up the distance and time on my rides to get use to being in the saddle for a long time (from around 40k to 80k). 

Also practiced eating whilst riding and seeing what was easiest to get out of pockets and sat well in the stomach – Bananas and Nature valley granola bars were my pick!

What was your cycling experience before signing up?

I was a regular triathlete and cyclist who trained around 12 hours a week for triathlon. Around 6 hours of that that was cycling.

Where did you find the most success fundraising?

Back home – I live near my old school so went and pitched it there, did a cake sale, raffle for the kids and the teachers were very generous – most people can’t imagine spending one day in the saddle let along 14 so what you are doing is very admirable!

Tournaments – are very good too, you can include, pictures in the run up, live “broadcast” on Facebook during and there’s always some sort of follow up post too so plenty of opportunity to advertise!

What was your biggest challenge while fundraising, or something that didn’t work as well as you thought it might?

I didn’t realise how much £1000 was, so I had to do 3 big fundraisers along with individual sponsorship rather than 1 which I thought I might have to have done.

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

I am quite a quiet and shy person when I am around people I do not know very well, so my big worry was not getting on with anyone or liking me and having to do the whole trip by myself and be alone each night. However this was not the case and James and the other route leaders were super friendly and I soon got to know the other riders (who I am still friends with now a year and a half on).

How did you travel to and from the trip?

Travelled up to Scotland by car with my parents, who had a weeks holiday up there afterwards.

When I route led the following year, I got the sleeper train from London Eustan to Edingbrough which was good.

We have a house in Cornwall so getting the train from Penzance to my house was dead easy. There are taxi’s that take you from Lands end to Penzance and you can usually group together with others on the trip to make it cheaper. Most will get a train from Penzance.

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Gear

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

I already had a bike.

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

Fingerless gloves – to stop blisters occurring.

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

Bike computer (or a simple GPS speed and distance tracker) so you could keep an eye on the distance you’d done and when the main turns were on the map. 

Cooker/Stove – as a student I was on a tighter budget so cooking in rather than eating out was much more handy.

What’s one thing you brought that you wish you hadn’t?

Too many home clothes – a pair of jeans/easy clothes when you finish each day is fine, you stop caring about what you wear after a while and just want the easiest things to slip into!

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

Most money was spent on food, I didn’t buy much else through the whole trip.

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

Too many – I think a pair jeans and leggings, sports leggings, sport shorts and trackies, around 4 tops (which was fine), light fleece, 2 running tops (I ran on the trip some evenings), 2 hoodies (but only wore the Bike the UK for MS one), running trainers, normal shoes, flipflops.

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

3 – would have taken more and less off the bike clothing if I did it again.

What type of camping gear did you bring? 

Good waterproof tent, warm 4 season sleeping bag, sleeping mat, camping stove, gas, pot to put on the stove, camping mug, spork.

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Food

What was your favourite van snack?

Wraps and marmite!

How often would you go out to eat?

Twice (or maybe 3 times).

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

Yes – rice and a shop bought source and chicken or deli beef.

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

Snacks and most of my meal food was there too, fleece.

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On-the-bike

Did you prefer to ride alone or in a group?

Group

What would you keep in your bike jersey pockets?

One snack bar or banana, light waterproof jacket, map phone and a bit of money.

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

Yes – saddle bag.

What type of tyres did you ride?

Standard road tyres.

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

Yes, average around 22/23km per hour.

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

Around 3 days – when you think about it, they are dead easy provided you have it orientated right!

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

Climbing a mountain pass for miles any day!

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

Extreme heat.

What was the most physically challenging segment for you?

Tavistock to Liskeard in Cornwall having already climbed over Dartmoor earlier in the day.

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Routine

Were you an early riser, or rolling out of camp late?

Early riser.

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

Got off the bike and sat down.

How often would you do laundry?

Every 2 nights – whenever it wasn’t too expensive. But also bulked washed with other riders to make cheaper and share the costs. 

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?

See what the other riders are doing, go to a nearby pub and chat, play cards, read a book in your tent if it’s later in the evening, explore the villages with riders.

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?

Go out and see the town was a form of relaxation – I knew Bath so knew it has a lot to offer so just enjoyed being there. My parents also came down to see me and we went out for a meal.

Did you keep a journal or blog during the trip?

Yes but only basic – on the notes app on my phone to remind me of the day so I could make a full write up and scrapbook post trip.

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Reflecting

Do you keep in touch with many of your teammates?

Yes!!

What was your favourite MS group meet up?

The one near Inverness.

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

Yes – I honestly had no awareness before the trip, I now know the different impacts and met some amazing people through it.

What was your biggest takeaway from the trip?

Confidence boost – I am much more confident in groups I do not know now which has helped my hugely through my time at uni.