Gearing up for my 500 mile challenge

Our CEO, Mark, is gearing up for his 500 mile cycle around the North of Scotland, hoping to raise enough funds to cover the cost of 10 much needed respite breaks with our 'Ride4Respite' campaign. Here he shares his pre-challenge thoughts!

The sun has been shining for over a week. In my small brain that means there is more likelihood that it will be blowing a hoolie and pouring with torrential rain at the end of the month when I begin my 500 mile cycle around the North of Scotland to raise funds for Leuchie. I never understood probability at school!

Like lots of things in life I didn’t see this coming really, but it makes sense in retrospect.  I have just turned 50 and want to use that occasion to push me to do more rather than to regret what I haven’t yet done. It’s Leuchie’s birthday this year too and it felt right to do what I could to find a way to celebrate this organisation which has given me so much in my few short year. And I am constantly struck by the energy and fortitude of Leuchie’s guests, who with so much to contend with make Leuchie an absolute joy.

This year has been particularly tough for some. Many have lost the financial resources they had and this will prevent some from accessing a break at Leuchie in the future. To many, a break here is not just a nice to have. We help people to sort their medication, offer Physio and Occupational therapy as well as skilled nursing and care. We give their loved ones a break from caring and for some this will be the only break they have in 365 days. So, if I can do something to stretch myself, use the occasion to celebrate Leuchie’s birthday and raise a bit of money and awareness, well that’s a good thing.  

My 10 year old daughter, Freija, with the simple and forthright understanding that comes with 10 years of life experience said to me: ‘so if I ride my bike, I’ll get money that will help people to have a break at Leuchie?' So, she has roped in a friend and they are doing their own cycle too!

Freija and Maisie riding for respite too!

I’m sure I should have cycled a bit more to prepare for cycling 100 miles a day over some serious hills, but with less than 10 days to go, what I have done will have to do. East Lothian is a bit more lumpy than you would imagine and of course, on many occasions the wind has been my hill over the winter. So, lots of long days in the saddle, fuelled by those bakeries that have remained open, thanks to Zanzibar in North Berwick and Bostok in East Linton !

The bike itself has had a bit of attention – it’s quite a thing to think that I might literally be 60 miles from any sort of shop or help should things go wrong, it’s a long cycle but even longer walk if I get a mechanical! Massive thanks to David at Law Cycles who has seen my bike today to give it a once over before I head off. And as to heading off, I will be travelling and staying in a fab camper van courtesy of Simon and Cath, our friends over at Jerba Campervans.

Wish me well for Thursday the 29th, if you can help with a little sponsorship that would be great, just click the just giving page hereOr, you may prefer to encourage my daughter and her friend. It all goes in the same Ride4Respite pot! You can support their challenge here.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who has generously sponsored the cycle so far. Follow on our socials for updates!