Readers may recall my wife Victoria’s planned women-only ‘Havant to Harvey Nics’ 82-mile charity cycle challenge taking place on October 1, 2016, starting at the aptly-named Wheelwrights public house and restaurant in Havant and finishing at London’s Harvey Nichols department store in Knightsbridge.
She is raising money in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, where our 15-year-old niece Jamie-Leigh – pictured – who was born with cystic fibrosis, is hoping to undergo a life-saving lung transplant as soon as a suitable donor is found.
While many readers will have driven to London countless times, few of us will have an appreciation of just how many hill-climbs will have to be negotiated to get there.
For such a long-distance ride. my wife would need a ‘proper’ bike, so I suggested she ask my cousin, a serious rider and classic road-bike historian, for some advice.
However, when he informed us of the sort of price we would need to pay I realised I might have just shot myself in the foot!
We went along to South Downs Bikes in Cosham who offer a wide range of road-bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids and also provide a very friendly and comprehensive fitting service.
They also offer hands-on workshops for the complete novice, covering simple maintenance to repairing punctures by the roadside – Mrs Cameron has signed up for the next session.
She was measured for optimum frame size before choosing her ‘steed,’ a carbon-framed bike that weighs even less than my wallet after leaving the shop.
On Mother’s Day she set off on her first training session, or rather to familiarise herself with the gears, brakes and compulsory skin-tight Lycra clothing.
I must confess to being quietly pleased when my wife announced it’s a ‘women-only’ cycle challenge, as while 82 miles on my Lambretta scooter is one thing, doing it with pedal power is quite another, though my elation was short-lived when I learnt I’m now my wife’s training partner.
So not only must I put-in the miles out on the road, I don’t yet own a bike so my wallet is set to get even lighter!
Seems I shot myself in both feet.
Even worse, I’ll also be needing the compulsory skin-tight Lycra shorts.
Once the cycle challenge was officially announced last weekend on social media, around 30 women pledged to join in for all or part of the chosen course and some donations have already been paid to her JustGiving page.
We are now seeking volunteers who might be willing to drive support vehicles or provide the use of a large van for transporting the bikes back from London.
I’m fairly sure that after 82 miles, few will be fit for much more than walking John Wayne-style to the nearest bar!