At six foot eight inches tall and weighing over 100kg I am not really built to be on a bike let alone cycle 100 miles on one. I have always wanted to do the RideLondon 100 and missed out on the ballot in previous years. So when the opportunity arose to participate in the event with LandAid I jumped at the opportunity and signed up.
To mark the first time I have done the event an ambitious target of £2,000 was set. Raising this amount would fund the stripping out of a derelict house, to turn it into suitable accommodation for young people, and provide a fitted kitchen where they can learn to cook. To reach this I had to do something a little different.
Before working for Mansford I used to be a full time rower training to make the Great Britain Olympic Team. I have never turned away from a challenge and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for one. Since moving to London I have seen many workers commuting to work on folding Brompton bikes and dressed in suits. They stand out from the lycra clad commuters around them and bring a sense of style to the group. Thoughts also came to mind on how hot and uncomfortable that would be for a long ride. The idea then turned to why could I not do 100 miles on a folding Brompton bike dressed in a suit.
To boost my fundraising I teamed up with Passle to build a strategy to share the story of my challenge and training leading up to RideLondon 100. I started my own website with short content driven blog posts about various parts of the challenge. A relationship was also built with Brompton bicycles and CHPT3 who assisted in pushing out my content about the event to a wider audience beyond my contact group. All these different elements assisted my fundraising with donations coming in from around the UK and abroad. I was also lucky enough to have the support of four time Tour de France Stage winner former professional cyclist David Millar who was even kind enough to lend me his new special CHPT3 Brompton bicycle.
How to train for an event and challenge like this? One key element was consistency. I set myself a program of two cycles in the week and two longer cycles at the weekend. Over the years of training for various sporting events I have learnt that smaller sessions spread evenly throughout the week are of more benefit than trying to fit all of your sessions in at the weekend. There were some early mornings and late evenings involved in this but setting myself an end goal, along with the support I was receiving for this challenge, gave me the motivation to train in the hours where over 90% of the population would be asleep. I did manage to have some fun with all the training. Please click here to see a video of myself on Box Hill doing a test run in the full outfit. Did all the training pay off though?
Well, in just over 5 hours (5:18:58 to be exact) I completed the 100 mile course and what a fantastic experience it was. One of the goals when I set this challenge, away from the main aim of raising money for LandAid, was to make people smile. Both on the road and from the supporters, comments of ‘chapeau’ and ‘kudos’ were constant. Children watching, pointing and laughing as I went past in my full suit. It really did help and certainly pulled me through the last 20 miles after all the main hills were done.
I would like to say a special thanks to everyone that has donated so far (currently £1,581) and Mansford, LandAid, Brompton Bikes, CHPT3, David Millar and Passle for all the support they have given me in the run up and during the event. This would not have been such a success without all of your help. In addition to the money raised I can see that there has been a huge communication reach, both online and offline for the charity which will certainly help drive awareness.
Any further donations are greatly appreciated and please click on the link to take you to my fundraising page.
What is next some people have asked? I am open to any ideas but maybe I will rest for the next few weeks and hopefully something will come to mind.
To support Matthew Tatlock and our other Ride London cyclists, please click on their fundraising pages below: