Sunday 22 November 2009

Charity week cycle challenge

Please don't be fooled though dear reader, this is not a training update (that will come at a later point when my arms have recovered sufficiently!)... there is some cycling involved, but a) it doesn't involve me and b) it's only minimal and on a stationary bike positioned in my work's bar - high octane!!

It took place the week before this one passed and was all in aid of raising money for the Alzheimer's Society.

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned this before, but I put forward the idea of a cycle challenge, which I thought would be pretty simple and accessible to most (as opposed to say a walking/running one as they wouldn't have to leave the comfort of the building) and somehow this meant that I was left lumbered with the thing for the entire week!

Fortunately I have a lovely understanding boss who didn't give me a hard time despite taking 2 hour lunches (I hasten to add that the additional hour was made up from my own time though!) every day for the entire week!

So, 12pm til 2pm Tara was stationed in the bar smiling inanely at passers by trying to entice them to participate in what must be the easiest challenge in the entire world.

There were 3 challenges in total

#1 'Turn up and cycle' - Everyone who enters and jumps on a bike and pedals, no matter how long for, gets entered into our prize draw for a pair of tickets to Paris on the Eurostar (pretty damn sweet prize for doing very little)

#2 'Fastest to Five' - whoever cycles the fastest somethings (we thought it was Miles but it was actually KMs (there was no way of telling at first, these LifeFitness bikes aren't the most user-friendly!) gets a £50 gift voucher.

#3 'Furthest Distance' - whomsoever clocks up the most mileage over the week gets three bottles of rather nice wine.

So, Monday I turn up at 12pm to the bar and am greeted by 2 shiny new bikes (LifeFitness have won a contract at our work gym - I'm gutted, I wanted TechnoGym (sorry LF!)) - and very kindly supplied us with 2 bikes for the purpose of the challenge.

These bikes, although gratefully received, were a bit of a pain in the arse to use, especially as the minute you stop pedaling the screen clears! Nobody could work out how to program the damn things (pretty rubbish as that's my job and most the competitors work in the IT and systems dept!) so the whole week we used the 'quick start' feature to its fullest extent!

One more problem nobody had factored in was the fact that as this was a 'corporate' instead of 'victoria' challenge (waring factions, positioned next door to each other, one company, two divisions, bizarre!!) so I wasn't 'meant' to advertise too heavily in the victoria building (despite this being where the challenge was being held!!)

Added to this my placement - by the door to the SMOKING AREA! Can you imagine the responses I received "hi there, would you like to take part in our corporate charity cycle challenge and be in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes just for getting on?"

cue wheezing, gripping chests, looks of incredulity that I'd even consider *insulting* them with the very notion of physical exertion!!

All in all the usual response I elicited from my most bizarre of notions (if indeed I was even acknowledged) constituted a mixture of horror, disbelief and amusement that I'd even think to suggest they hop on an exercise bike, be it only for a couple of seconds!!

Be under no illusion, this was a tough crowd!

In spite of this there were a few gems who came along and took this event seriously... just ONE woman did the 'fastest to five' challenge, completing it in 21 mins... she was a star, she just got on and pedaled for ages, bless!

Most of the 'competitors' turned out to be people literally getting on, pedalling for a minute tops and then getting off - fair enough, it all went to charity.

But there was one fella who came along and tried out the 'fastest to five' challenge 3 times!! The first time he came he was in his work clothes and just basically went as fast as possible on the lightest resistance going... lots of work, super high cadence but not really going anywhere!

Then a colleague of mine who cycles every day (from north right through central london, nutter!) came along and halved the first fella's time... but he did have the resistance up so was clocking up more mileage (more power = more distance).

So our fella came back and had another go! This time in gym kit - took it down to just over 5 mins.

...was a bit knackered afterwards as you can see!!

The next day a fellow cyclist and climber (who cycles at least 24 miles a day just getting to work) came along and completed the 5km challenge in a blistering 03:46

As you can see, resistance was *right* up!


We'd been told of this mystery man who cycled over 90 miles a day on his normal home-work commute (and contributed over 1400 miles to our TfL workplace challenge, legend.

So, with rumour of S firmly intact, a crowd gathered to see the 'clash of the titans' play out

It wasn't to be though, by 4km this self-confessed 'grinder' realised he wasn't going to beat A's NEW time of 03:35 and gave up - bah!

He could have at least gone the full 5km, some men are soooo competitive ;-)

So A won the 'fastest to five' which is fab as he and his partner have just bought a new house so the £50 voucher will come in very handy indeed!

My colleague came back and cycled for almost an hour to add to his KM tally over the week - clocking up 72km in total :-)

Here's me presenting him with his three bottles of wine :-)

*** One Last Thing ***

If (for some reason!!) you found this post interesting, and want to read about a true cycling legend - you might like to read fellow Serpie, Daniel Bent's blog as he cycles a monumental distance across Europe to India for the charity Action Aid.

"Danny Bent left his home, family and job as a junior school teacher in July 2009 to pursue a 20 year dream. A dream to cycle round the world raising as much money for charity as possible. He is travelling 15,000km by bicycle to southern india where he will work in a slum in Bangalore and a village school in Chembakolli as a teacher."

Here is his website:

Here's his blog:

And here's his fundraising page:

If you scroll down his latest post to the very end where he details the decor of his less-than-plus hotel room, it might make you think twice before moaning about poor room service and/or an absence of clean towels in your next hotel stay!! ;-)

Oh and if, after reading all this, you're not convinced of Danny's legend status, also worthy of note is the fact that he is the current Bog Snorkelling Triathlon World Record holder!! (eagle-eyed readers of 220 Triathlon magazine might have spotted this featured a couple of issues back)



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