Stalling up a steep road in the Lake District confirmed what I already suspected. I’m not, nor am I ever likely to be, greatly appreciative of uphill cycling – and my fitness is someway short of the levels required in 12 months time when I set off around the world.
With a mouth open far enough to welcome a family of small birds I panted a route to the four corners of the UK to visit several Macmillan information centres, hospital units and palliative care centres.
Knowing the 100 miles I was cycling each day was beyond my physical comfort levels, and far more than the daily 60-70 miles I’m intending for the round the world route, it was a journey with a lot of physical and mental torment. Long days alone in the saddle along A roads to take the quickest and shortest route, resulted in feeling isolated.
For all those negative’s, I made it. There are times when the cycle felt gruelling, in fact most of the time. But the Macmillan nurses, centre manager’s and friends I met along the way would immediately negate those many hours of feeling isolated.
It wasn’t quite the curtain raiser for Lap the World I hoped because by the time I arrived in Elgin I didn’t have the energy to pull back the curtain, but I was really encouraged by the media response to the expedition.
In Birmingham I managed to squeeze in a radio interview at BBC WM as I cycled through the city centre on the way to a Birmingham Evening Mail photoshoot east of the city, and the journey attracted coverage in most of the regions I cycled.
At Leighton Hospital in Crewe I was interviewed with a patient of the centre who had received a terminal diagnosis. The experience of meeting Andrew was the single most affecting and humbling I’ve felt for a long time.
All the Macmillan nurses and centre managers I met just confirmed that it’s the right decision to fundraise for the charity and if the cycle ride went anyway towards highlighting the work they do each day, those few hours of hurt will have been for something.