Many months ago when my husband, Tom, and our friend, Lee signed up for The London to Brighton Off-Road Bike Ride for the British Heart Foundation, I’m sure they thought it would take a lot longer for the date to arrive.
On a Friday night, September 2017, we were staying in a very noisy Travelodge hotel in Kingston-on-Thames, ready for a 7am start. As every true athelete is, Tom and Lee were appropriately fueled from the night before with a diet of pepsi and pizza.
Most people will know someone who have had heart conditions of some kind, in our case Tom’s Father passed away very unexpectedly in 2015 from Ischemic Heart Disease, so this ride was an emotional as well as a physical challenge.
While Tom and Lee were riding, myself and Lee’s wife Claire had the chance to look around Brighton. Having only driven through many years ago, I was curious to see it properly.
Typical city centres do not excite me, many are impersonal and cookie cutter in style. The Lanes, however, were a maze of fantastical alleyways, much like Diagon Alley. From an antique armoury that sold original war relics, such as a 1740 British Dragoon sword, (if you are a fan of Outlander, you’ll understand how excited I am) to a lighting shop selling LED cotton ball lights.
Photo opportunties aplenty, it’s not hard to understand why there are many photo exhibitions and shops. I had to keep reminded myself I did not have all day to stay and take photos!
This zebra played a beautiful piano piece (which I think was from Far From the Madding Crowd?) and enticed an large audience. He finished the set with a rendition of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It… Extremely talented and a wonderful backdrop to boot.
Tom and Lee crossed the line 10 hours after they started (just under 8 hours riding time). I’m sure the organisers were having a laugh when they included a beast of a hill towards the end. Rumours were that out of 3000 riders, approx 5% managed to ride the whole way up. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
In a blatent attempt to help raise as much sponsorship as possible for the British Heart Foundation, if you would like to donate you can do so via Just Giving. No amount is too small and you will forever have our gratitude.