I’d always fancied taking up some kind of physical challenge and having known about and sponsored Missing People's previous Edinburgh to London cycle challenge last year, 3 days seemed far easier!
I had my hip replaced back in October 2014 and running was off the cards, but cycling was deemed excellent.
So, with less than 6 weeks to go and not having done any real cycling for nearly 30 years, I signed up. I initially thought I could undertake the 282 mile journey on a hybrid bike with regular pedals.
Within a week I’d been talked out of it and decided to invest in a lightweight road bike with cleats. I needed to give myself the best chance possible.
|Esra with her new road bike|
It was a very steep learning curve - everything from testing out different saddles (undercarriage issues can be quite serious if you get it wrong!), padded shorts and gloves that fit you and do the job well, to learning how to reach down for and drink from your bottle, open a gel or peel a banana and consume it on the move, to riding in a pack and understanding hand signals and using them.
|Esra and friends stop for a coffee during a training ride|
Family support was hugely important as training is time consuming and having someone at home to help coach and train me made a great difference. My bike went on holiday with me for a week so that I wouldn’t miss training.
Back home, I was taken around the Surrey Hills and I managed 2 x 60 mile round trips with 3 proper hills in each. I’d done as much as I could in the time available. I was ready - or so I thought!
|Half way through the Liverpool to London challenge|
|Crossing the finish line in London|
Arriving in London 3 days later at the Tower of London to an amazing welcome by the Missing People team was truly memorable! The cobbles were less kind to us but luckily short-lived.
|The Liverpool to London Cycle Team|
This was an amazing challenge which I’m so glad I undertook. It has started me off on a new fitness regime and as long as the next cake and coffee stop is less than 30 miles away, sign me up!