A group of us in the London office have been cycling to work for the last few months. The daily commute has its own challenges, from dodging cars and buses to ‘swimming’ to work in England’s all-year rainy season. At some point James Batterham – our Senior Support Analyst for EMEA – decided this was not enough and managed to convince us to sign up for a 54 mile charity ride from London to Brighton.
We chose a charity – the Rays of Sunshine children’s charity – in the UK that grants the wishes of children living with serious or life-threatening illnesses. After paying the race entry fee, we were committed to raising £100 each for our chosen charity. Ian Nissenbaum – our Strategic Account Executive for the UK and Ireland – managed to rope his son, Daniel, into joining us for this event. With a last minute cancellation by a team mate, James was able to convince a friend and colleague – Paul Deba – to join the party. That gave the five of us a team fundraising total of £500.
We set off on an aggressive campaign to raise as much as possible, using a stream of updates to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts and to email contacts. In the end, we raised a team total of £3234.17, over six times the required target. What made it more special for us were the updates from Rays of Sunshine telling us about wishes that were being granted along the way.
The target was achieved but now we had to get riding. While some of us were more cycling fit already, others, including myself, preferred a more ‘mental fine-tuning’ approach as opposed to physical training.
On Sunday 11 September we set off from Tooting Bec Common in South London, equipped with bananas, gel packs and a supply of Brushies. We wound our way through rural roads with amazing rolling hills almost without incident. A few cramped legs, a well-catered lunchtime pit stop, a rear buckled wheel near the end and the occasional fall (while still clipped into the pedals) couldn’t stop us from getting across the finishing line. The view of the sea between the hills was enough to give us that extra bit of energy to dash to the end.
While the ride now seems like a lifetime ago, the aches that cause stairs to seem like mountains remind us of what we have achieved. Making the distance on two wheels was enough of an accomplishment for the Winshuttle cycle team, but to know that we had the generous support from the 133 sponsors who donated to the cause is an amazing feeling. We thank you all and we know that the children feel the same.
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