At Amplifon, our mission is to empower people to experience all the emotions of sound. In the UK and Ireland, we do this daily through our team of dedicated Audiologists and Customer Care Coordinators, who help support people in our community who are missing out on all the emotions of sound, through assessing their hearing and finding the right solution for them. We take great joy in what we do and are proud of the impact we're having on the communities in which we operate.
In February 2018, an internal email went around the business asking if anyone fancied taking part in a 100km bike ride in London to raise funds to support those with hearing loss. Coincidentally, just before Christmas I had started riding to work with one of my colleagues and in February this year swapped my clunky 15-year-old mountain bike for a road bike and thought it would be great to have a goal to work towards to keep me motivated. Very quickly and without much thought I said yes! We chose to ride for Action on Hearing Loss as they are the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK, and this particular focus resonates with all of us.
Almost as soon as I had confirmed I would take part, I was told that there had been a ‘slight’ error in the initial communication and it was in fact 100 miles and not 100 km; it was at this stage I became a little worried! Not only had I signed up to something that was way beyond my current ability and experience but I also realised that a more structured training plan was needed.
My daily cycle to work is a roundtrip of 12 miles in total and so the 6 miles each way was the furthest I had ever cycled in one ride. My first attempt at a ‘long’ ride was in March; it was 30 miles in and around Derby and initially it was easier than I’d anticipated. As I hit 10 miles, I started to find my rhythm and start to really enjoy it. However, as we hit 27 miles my left knee gave up and the final 3 miles were pretty painful, but I did it! I continued to ride to work most days but realised that I needed to look at adding regular longer rides to my routine.
In April a friend and I planned and completed a 50-mile ride around the Cheshire countryside with a couple of pub stops to make it a little more appealing. Again, the ride wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected so I began to allow myself to feel a more confident about being ready for Ride London. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was really struggling to motivate myself to head out on training rides alone so I started looking for local cycling groups and came across the Timperley Boneshakers, a fab social cycling group, who ride out at least 3 times a week for an average of 40-45 miles. I joined the group in April and have been out with them several times, and although the distance is similar each time, I have really improved my average pace and they have really helped motivate me to get out and about and meet more likeminded people.
I did my furthest ride of 60 miles at the end of May around Derbyshire which was a lot more challenging that cycling around Cheshire, not least of all because of the hills. So, it was at this point I realised that not only did I need to keep working on my distance but I also needed to think about the elevation. My average elevation so far had been around 1,000 feet and the Ride London course is more than 4,000 feet with two notably hard hills; Box Hill and Leith Hill. This will be my main focus for training as the big day moves ever closer.
The weekend just gone I completed ‘Cycle Live Nottingham’ with 4 friends and we chose to ride the ‘Little John’ route which is 100 miles and just over 4,000 feet which gave me an insight into what the day of Ride London will be like. I set myself a goal of completing the course in six and a half hours and was delighted to cross the finish in line in 6 hours and 37 minutes (true riding time!). We did however include several stops for food, water and puncture repairs.
In a couple of weeks I have the 60-mile Manchester to Blackpool ride on 8th July and then the 2018 Great Weston Ride, a 75-mile cycle from Bristol to Weston-Super-Mare following a spectacular route through the Mendips and across the Somerset Levels. I then have a weekend off before the big day and Ride London. It’s hard to believe that at the start of this journey, I found the 6-mile each way ride to work pretty challenging, and now I have completed one 100-mile ride in a day and preparing for another in a matter of weeks!
All in all, the last few months have been mentally and physically challenging but above all they have been great fun and I am now looking forward to me and the rest of the Amplifon Team completing Ride London; keep your fingers crossed for us!