NightRider 2014 - Gosh that was tough

A year ago I first heard about this thing called 'The NightRider' - a 100km cycle through London at night. It sounded daunting then, and no less daunting when I signed up 4 weeks ago. Last Saturday I set off from Crystal Palace proudly wearing my Cancer Research UK jersey with hundreds of other riders, and to my complete surprise finished second, in a time of 4 hours 15 minutes.

It was one of the toughest things I have ever done, both exhilarating but very emotional at the same time. I have raised almost £700 for Cancer Research UK through the generosity of a lot of donors - some I know well, others through social networks, but everyone combined to put my head in the right place to do this challenge.    THANK YOU.   

The experience is hard to describe, and to be honest I didn't stop to take photos. I raced the first section to Tower Bridge and it was only because the bridge was up that I pinched myself to remember to look up and enjoy the sights. The distant hills of Crystal Palace to Ally Pally, Greenwich and the docks, the City, Wapping, Canary Wharf, bustling Soho, Abbey Road and The Oval all passed by as I dug deeper and deeper to keep going. Then, in the final stretch it was almost to much: it's an odd experience to be cycling the last 15 miles at 3am with tears in your eyes, singing to keep going to a silent London.

Even though it was a blur, there are some things I'll never forget -

  • Seeing the friendly face of the Cancer Research volunteers at the start line - it's a small thing but riding alone it meant a lot to know there was a team behind me
  • Tower Bridge at night as the bridge was raised and lowered - cars stopped, people taking selfies and we cyclists forced to pause and take it all in for a moment
  • Losing my bearings and convincing myself I'd taken the wrong route, then seeing St Paul's appear out of nowhere, ghostly and pale but oh so welcoming to this 'lost' rider.
  • The Paris-Roubaix like cobbles on the way to Wapping, and sharing the pain with two other riders, bonded by the experience
  • The agony and ecstasy of reaching the highest point on Hampstead and knowing it was downhill for a while 
  • The look of surprise at the marshal when I arrived at the finish-line to say I was too early for breakfast   
  • The medal around my neck that convinced the canteen to serve me breakfast early

Two days later, as I look back weary but exhilarated my main feeling is one of pride, and of feeling privileged to have helped the work of such a good cause. Thank you Cancer Research UK for giving me a reason to ride, I hope that one day soon I won't have to ride for you but until then I know my donations will help.

Don't forget you can still sponsor me here http://www.justgiving.com/markofrespect   

Here is my Strava record for any bike geeks out there   

PS I wish I had slowed down a bit, check out what London looks like at sunrise!

Photo by Nick Reinis

Photo by Nick Reinis

Photo by Steph Joels

Photo by Steph Joels



It's going to hurt, but it's a good kind of pain

In September, as the weather turns cold and wet, I will be on a bike, in shorts, cycling 70 miles a day for 3 days.

Why?  To raise money for a charity I believe in so strongly that it is worth the cuts, bruises, strains and drenching.

Last year we did this and built 2 schools and a library through Room To Read, with your support we can do even more - please donate to me to achieve this goal.

Please support me - I promise, I won't let you down http://bit.ly/supportmark


What did Techbikers achieve?

image.jpg

Well, more to the point, what did you acheive? If you sponsored me for the recent Techbikers Paris to London 200 mile cycle then you are of course awesome, but this is why ...

We will fund the following 2012 projects in Nepal:

  • One two room School Construction project at 22,000 USD (Brand new school built)
  • One constructed Library at 20,000 USD (brand new library built)
  • One School Library at 5,000 USD (re-purposing of an existing room in a school with no library, filled with books)

I could not be prouder today, and this extends to each of you who supported me - thank you with all my heart.

The plaque text will read: This school/library was established through the cooperation of the local community, Room to Read and TechBikers. TechBikers (40 entrepreneurs in East London) were inspired to support this space and hope that it similarly inspires the local community to dive into a world of creativity, initiative and curiosity that was opened up to us by books and learning.

I MADE IT #techbikers

I made it from Paris to London on a bike, almost 200 miles (minus a little when we got flooded off the Sussex hills) over 3 days with 40 others to raise money for Room to Read. Thank you to those who supported me with donations, tweets and Facebook messages, it made all the difference to what was the most gruelling thing I have ever done.

Be it the frosty mornings, the pea-soup fog at 40 miles an hour, the river that was once a road I cycled up or the 10 mile stretches all uphill each mile I cycled closer to home broke me but renewed me at the same time.

I know lots of you were waiting for payday to support me - this means a lot and each donation after the event has been an extra pat on the back: if you can, support me here

Some stats for the group:  

  • Collective miles cycled: 6,925
  • Collective calories burned: 68,634
  • Collective pedal revolutions: 3,985,200 (Four million!!)
  • Collective feet climbed: 197,702

To add some context, that means the team cycled from London to Mount Everest, and along the way ascended its height seven times over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you,

MJx

Support here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/techbikers

I'll be thinking of you each painful mile and smiling

Stop, take a moment. Think of me. Yes, me. Cycling. Not a commute across London, or a casual cycle in the New Forest. Think Paris, think London. Think cycling 200 miles from Paris to London. Now back to me. Yes me. Scared. Excited. Determined.

I need your help -  http://bit.ly/techbikers

It’s been a long time since I was last asking for sponsorship (1992 Aberdeen to Crathie Comic Relief cycle to be exact), and now I ask again. I’m cycling with a bunch of fellow geeks to raise money for Room to Read.

Room to Read are a charity that believes that World Change Starts with Educated Children. They envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.

Please, from the bottom of my heart, donate. I promise I won’t let you down.

Go to Virgin Giving now and donate, selecting my name from the donation screen.

 

More about Room to Read

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organisations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.