Back

Charity Cycle Ride in Kenya - The Journey Starts Here...

It all started with that advert in a magazine – the page that jumped out at me with its burnt orange Kenyan sunset background, silhouetted elephants walking trunk to tail ….  one look at that, and then I saw the cyclist and the words “Be part of the first Women V Cancer cycle ride raising funds to fight breast, cervical and ovarian cancer”.   I was hooked!

My heart started racing at the thought of another charity challenge; the thought of doing something I didn’t know I would be able to achieve – so I signed up, paid my £250 deposit and that was that! 

It is a 400 km (approx 250 miles) cycle ride over 5 days across the Rift Valley, Kenya, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Trust (Cervical Cancer), and Ovarian Cancer Action.

I will be part of a group of 80 ladies from all over the country (none of whom I know – yet) who will be cycling to raise money for these 3 cancer charities.  Sadly, nowadays, most of us will have been under the shadow of cancer in one way or another and it feels good to be helping out in a very small way.

Why did I choose this event over others?  Well, mostly the fact that I don’t cycle and so it really will push me out of that comfort zone and into the question of “can I do this?”  As I am rather stubborn on this sort of thing, I know the answer will be “yes”, but it’s going to cost me!  And the ‘cost’ comes in many ways – it is a major commitment physically, mentally, financially and socially and I will have to make this event my whole life.  But, hey, that’s what makes it such a challenge!

So, after the signing up came the very necessary step of actually buying a bike.  I got it, a helmet, gloves & sunglasses and off I went.  It’s true what they say; you never forget how to ride a bike.  What you do forget, however, is how to ride with ease, let alone style!  Hands gripping handlebars and teetering rounds bends, I gently managed the short distance to my parents to show off the bike and my new-found cycling skill.   Sadly, I’d stopped in the wrong gear meaning that when I tried to pull expertly off, waving happily back at Mum and Dad, I didn’t so much pull off as almost fall off.  However, with some helpful husband tuition (he was amazed by my ignorance) I learned how to use my gears and particularly how NEVER to change them when not actually pedalling!

I’m now proud to say that I have successfully completed a round 23 mile trip in some of the most awful weather.  I’ve learned that going past a gap in a hedge means ‘be prepared to be blown scarily sideways into the path of passing traffic or (somewhat less scarily) the hedge’ and how to change gear when coming to a stop (bit like driving) and also, importantly, just how much room I should be giving cyclists when I am driving.

Best of all I’ve re-learned the joy of cycling: the fabulous feeling of air rushing past; the exhilarating freedom of whizzing down a quiet country lane; the childish glee of skimming through puddles, legs akimbo and the sheer exuberance of yelling “yeeeeeeee haaaaa” down the hills (yes I have done!).

You know, I am a bit scared at the thought of the amount of training and fund-raising I’ve got ahead of me but I’m also excited.  Imagine the buzz of getting my 45 year old body cycling fit; the friendship I find in fund-raising; the fun I’ll get out of preparing for an event; the trying to learn new promoting skills and most of all, the simple, heartfelt gratitude that I feel every day that I am fit and healthy enough to be able to undertake all this.

So, 2011 is going to be a life-changing year for me.  What a journey it’s going to be ………….

Come along for the ride with me here at this blog or visit my JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/ruth-espley.