Tackling a charity challenge every year, the Sytner Corporate team have this year managed to complete a gruelling 100 mile cycle ride along the Grand Union Canal.
The team, consisting of members of our Sytner Corporate team and friends, completed the two day ride earlier this week for the charity ‘Blood Bikes NICU Support’. A vital organisation, Blood Bike NICU Support arrange for the quick transportation of breast milk to babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU).
With many of these lifesaving donations being transported by volunteers on bikes, a cycling challenge definitely seemed like the right one this time around. It is thanks to continued kind donations that the charity has grown and is now capable of delivering more donations and offering transportation for new mums if their baby is receiving treatment in the NICU. If you would like to find out more about the charity, you can click here to visit their website.
An intense bike ride that was plagued with non-stop punctures, sore legs and rainy weather, the team worked hard to complete the challenge. To get a first-hand look at one happened on the ride, we spoke to Tracey James – Multi Brand Account Manager for Sytner Corporate – one of the cyclists who braved the challenge to get her version of events:
“I joined the challenge on day two with much trepidation having heard that the previous day, 2 people had been carried off on a barge and that progress had been marred by 32 punctures.
Up until then I had thought I would be joining a leisurely bike ride, taking in the scenery and wildlife, with plentiful stops at pubs along the way. How wrong was I!
"I had thought I would be joining a leisurely bike ride, taking in the scenery and wildlife, with plentiful stops at pubs along the way. How wrong was I!"
I was greeted by Mike, our sergeant major for the day, who kept us all in order with the sharp blow of his whistle – having checked that I could at least ride a bike by getting me to ride around for a few minutes, we promptly set off. I could see at this point that I was surrounded by proper athletes and hardened bike riders who I think regarded me with some pity and curiosity as to how long I would actually last!
By now it was raining hard and all attempts to retain some look of normality were lost, especially as within a few minutes my face was completely covered in spatters of muddy water. Within the first few miles, I realised this wasn’t going to be a leisurely bike ride as I struggled to keep up with the others whilst navigating school rush hour traffic.
The first 10 miles, I alternated between a normal bike and electric – having initially scoffed at the idea of electric I quickly found this to be my best friend. I was offered a rest after 10 miles but decided to carry on for as long as I could – foolish response, I should have got into the car then!
I was speeding along at the front with Mike, setting the pace, when we travelled under a bridge which has been block paved – as I hit the surface and applied my brakes both of my wheels went from underneath me – Oh the pain and humiliation as I skidded along the path and stopped. I could hear the other cyclist all arrive and looked up to see many concerned faces – although I could also hear my colleague in the background saying ‘Is this a good time for a photo think how many more donations we could get!‘
I thought to myself, don’t worry they will send the ambulance vehicle to your rescue and you can recover in the car with chocolate … Mike had other ideas, he gave me a chocolate bar and some coke to drink and then asked me to carefully get up and see if I could walk. Once I had managed this he suggested I get back on the bike (which I can’t believe hadn’t broken!) so I did, then he remarked ‘let’s crack on we only have about 3 miles to the next stop.’
I retired to drive the support vehicle after that, with the whole of my left side, knee and elbow hurting (not ideal with a BMW X1 manual to drive). I then re-joined the team to cycle the last 5 miles to the finish line.
It was a great team spirit throughout the day and, whilst I came away with some battle scars, I am pleased we have raised money for such a worthy cause. Well done to all of our colleagues and friends who completed the challenge with us. On a personal note I never thought I would be able to ride nearly 25 miles on a bike but I did albeit with a little electric help!”
To echo the remarks of Tracey, we are very proud of everyone in the team for completing either the full two day 100 mile challenge or for completing one of the 50 mile challenges – it is certainly for a worthy cause. If you would like to donate to Blood Bikes NICU Support, please visit our Just Giving page and help us achieve our target.