Many readers of this blog will be aware that my family is a big part of my life – I have two sons who are growing up far too quickly! Cycling is another big part of my life – it’s one of the ways that I keep fit and it’s also one of my eldest son (Matthew)’s passions, which means I spend quite a bit of time supporting him in various cycling-related endeavours.
Another big part of our family’s activities relates to Scouting. I was a Cub Scout, a Scout, a Venture Scout (for a short while) and a Cub Scout Instructor in my youth – and I got a tremendous amount out of that experience. My sons are both Scouts too… which leads to this blog post…
Back in November, Matthew was lucky enough to be one of just 16 Scouts and Explorer Scouts across Milton Keynes District to be selected for one of two international trips in 2019 – to the International Scout Centre in Kandersteg, Switzerland and the World Scout Jamboree in the United States. Matthew was selected to go to Kandersteg and needs to raise quite a chunk of money to fund this amazing international trip.
As well as various group-related activities, Matthew was looking for an individual challenge that he could carry out in the hope that friends, family and other people who would like to support the cause could sponsor him.
Matthew and I decided that a sponsored bike ride would be a good idea. But it had to be demanding. Not a few laps of the country park but something that would be a significant challenge for a 13 year-old – so we settled on a bike ride from Milton Keynes to London (in a day).
Because of the risks involved with road riding, we decided to use the Grand Union Canal, which actually makes it longer and a bit harder because not all of the surface is tarmac.
You can see our route on the image in this post – starting at Milton Keynes Central station, and ending at Paddington Basin (just along from the Microsoft offices at Paddington Central…).
I may have done a few 100 mile rides on the road for “fun” but ~70 miles (111km) on canal towpaths will be a stretch even for me… let alone for Matthew, whose furthest ride before we started training was 26 miles (40km). We’ve been training (up to around 75km) and this Saturday we’re hoping to do the ride for real.
So, that’s what we’re doing – my ask of you is this:
If you’ve ever found my blog useful, or you have other reasons to support my son in his fundraising (it’s amazing how many people have themselves been on similar trips that have made a huge difference to their lives), please consider donating at Matthew’s crowd-funding page.
I’m sure I’ll be tweeting progress on Saturday… in the meantime – thank you in anticipation of your support.
If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, there’s info on Matthew’s crowdfunding page and you can find details about the Kandersteg International Scout Centre on their website.
Thank you for your support.
[Update 11/6/18: Matthew and I completed the ride on Saturday and he was awesome. I’m incredibly proud of him. He got a bit tired around the 50-mile point but kept on powering through and nailed it. And then an over-zealous security guard at Paddington Basin’s Pocket Park (Merchant Square) told us we had to move our bikes…
Thanks to everyone who supported us on this endeavour – we smashed Matt’s fundraising target for the ride (raising nearly all the money we need for the trip from just this one effort!).
Huge credit is due to the family and friends who joined us at key points on the route as well to my wife Nikki and my youngest son Ben, who followed us along the route and provided food, drink and support.]