Riding high in a different saddle!

I’m Brad West and I am cycling the Prudential RideLondon Challenge in July. This involves me cycling 100 miles from London-Surrey. ‘He must be mad’ I hear you say! Well, although this has crossed my mind on more than one occasion I am completely motivated by the fact that I’ve chosen to do this nutty challenge for a fantastic charity: Ride High.

Although I already had a good understanding of how Ride High helps disadvantaged children, visiting some of the children at the Ride High centre earlier this year really bought it to life for me. I spoke to children who face incredible challenges every day and for whom Ride High offers a safe and secure environment where they can learn and have fun and build confidence and resilience to face the outside world. One child told me ‘Ride High is the only thing I do, it gets me through the week and makes me feel happy’. I watched the kids in their riding lesson, I saw their faces light up in the saddle and I sat with the kids and helped them make posters in the clubroom. I’m sure that for those two hours they felt like all their worries and cares had been lifted.

Here I am with some of the Ride High children during my visit to the centre

And so… I am throwing myself into the training with the knowledge that my efforts (and pain!) will make a real difference to these kids lives. My training started in the pool back in February – I had to ease myself in gently as I haven’t ridden for 12 months! I then faced my first setback in April when I had a nasty chest infection and nagging cough… however never fear, the sun came out and now the riding bug has started to take hold! Training isn’t always easy. A near fatal motorbike accident a few years ago means my joints ‘ain’t what they used to be’…. but I will keep going for Ride High.

Taking on this challenge isn’t an entirely selfless act, whilst my driving motivation is the children at Ride High, RideLondon is also an opportunity for me to get fit and get back on the bike. Personal and team challenges like this are brilliant for morale and general health and wellbeing. You don’t have to cycle 100 miles either – there are all sorts of challenges out there and I’d recommend everyone to set themselves a goal. You’ll feel brilliant when you achieve it!

In addition to the training I’m working hard to fundraise and I’m pleased to say that it is going well! I have managed to raise £622.50 (including gift aid), towards my target of £1000 which is excellent. My colleagues, friends and family are being extremely supportive offering encouragement and sponsorship! Any donation, however small will be really appreciated. You can view my page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BradWest33.

I even look the part in my Ride High t’shirt now!

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