Even my closest friends are unlikely to come up with ‘sporty’ as a word to describe me. That makes it all the more surprising, for me as well as for them, that I’m undertaking Bridge2Aid’s sponsored cycle safari in Tanzania this November.
It has been many, many years since I last rode a bike. My over-riding memory of cycling is as a child, maybe six years old, on a family holiday. I was on the back of a tandem with my Dad at the front and he had constructed little ledges for my feet as they couldn’t reach the pedals. I’m sure my brother or sister would say I was at least 10 and could easily have pedalled, but was too lazy. I haven’t really cycled much since.
So maybe a 360 kilometre cycle ride through the hills and heat of Tanzania doesn’t seem a natural choice for me, but that’s the point. If I’m going to continue to ask our supporters to fundraise for Bridge2Aid, I have to show some real commitment myself too. The last challenge I undertook was the Mount Kilimanjaro climb seven years ago, so it’s about time I take something else on and get back in the saddle. And the B2A fundraising team can be very persuasive!
Training hasn’t been an easy ride. Who said ‘it’s like riding a bike’? On my first training session in the Forest of Dean (away from prying eyes!) in February with my sister, I found out that you CAN forget how to ride a bike. But she believed I could do it, and six months later I cycled 140km over a weekend from Gloucestershire to Oxford. Maybe I might actually survive the Tanzania challenge.
Our team represents some of our biggest supporters; Patrick Allen, from Henry Schein, and his son, Matt Turner from A-dec and Bob Newsome from Quadralene, as well as my husband Phil and his brother Alan, and Sally-Anne (ex-B2A). We’re cycling from the base of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Ngorogoro Crater across the savannah. We’re gearing up for a rough ride; hot and challenging; and it will be easier to keep going if we know we have your support.
I’ve just come back from an eye-opening trip to Malawi which reminded me why I’m doing it. We may be pedalling in pain, but the motivator for the team is that we’ll be pedalling for pain;
Pedalling for People living in pain who measure how long they’ve been in pain by years rather than hours
Pedalling for Dental Professionals in Tanzania and Malawi who are isolated and dealing with every dental problem for thousands of people. Having trained rural/community-based health workers alongside them will enable them to share the workload. In Tanzania there are just 111 dentists to serve 58 million people
Pedalling for Health Professionals who want to serve their people but just don’t have the resources
and that’s why I feel I can ask for sponsorship.
The aim for our team is to raise £12,000. We are all paying our own expenses, as is par with the Bridge2Aid model. So the money raised will pay for the in-country costs of training of four health workers, providing access to emergency dental care for 40,000 people. Please consider sponsoring us as it’ll be easier not to back-pedal if we know we have your support.
And perhaps you could get involved too. We’re getting on our bikes; why don’t you do the same? We’re asking practices to put an exercise bike in their waiting rooms and during the same week (4th to 8th Nov) cycle along with us; challenging their teams to cycle 360km between them with a bucket for donations.
I never imagined I would be pulling on the lycra and backing myself to survive quite such a daunting challenge. But this is a cause I believe in, passionately, and I know that we can make a difference. If you can help us, please donate at: