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Riding for a good cause

Mike Ashton gears up for the RideLondon-Essex 100

So, to the ride itself. Together with a small group of family, friends, and colleagues I am taking part in RideLondon-Essex 100 this year. Last time I rode the event was in 2019 as an able-bodied cyclist. Possibly one of the few people to take part as both disabled and able-bodied in consecutive events. We are aiming to raise as much money as possible for the SIA (current total around £30,000). Times are challenging for everybody – however, if you would like to donate, my fundraising site is www.justgiving.com/Mike-Ashton160919

Everybody loves the training – especially the hills! Due to my paralysis, I use a recumbent cycle (cycling with arms not legs) and it has been interesting navigating the roads and making sure I am visible to drivers (and tractors)! I typically try to ride with others, which makes me more visible within the group. I have however found drivers to be really good at keeping their distance and indeed giving me the occasional wave and smile – encouraging as you strive for the longer distances. It's also been great to hear the Monday morning stories from my colleagues as they discover new places on bikes they have not ridden for a number of years.

The message across the team has been to enjoy cycling, it’s not a race on the day – rather, the RideLondon-Essex 100 on 29 May will be an occasion for smiles and enjoyment. The charity will be supporting us along with their other riders on the day and I know some family and friends will be making their way to London to give a cheer. Celebrating after the event – I think it’ll be a quiet rest and a cool drink!