Wow, what a crazy 4 month journey this has been! From setting off for our first tentative cycle ride on 23rd March, at the start of lockdown (we managed a whole mile and a half to Wolf Hall and it was hard work!) to fitting in 200 miles in the last 2 weeks and plenty of things to entertain us on the way:-
We've explored our local area and countryside more than we'd ever had time to before - we know all the cycle routes between here and Bedwyn and can probably tell you how long each one is, in miles and kilometres.
We've had punctures (mainly mine), brakes binding (also mine - wow that cycle was like a high resistance spinning class especially as I had Ember on the back!), new tyres, a few crashes, and upgraded teeth. Anya has had a new bike, a new helmet and has probably done more miles on her new bike in the last 2 months than most bikes ever see in their whole lifetime!
We've made it into regional newspapers all over the country - including Glasgow, Aberdeen and Belfast - had several interviews with Ben on the breakfast show on BBC Radio Wiltshire and been one of the faces of British Cycling's Let's Ride campaign on social media.
All this whilst trying to balance work (full time, key workers for mobile comms!), school (from home and actual school) and entertaining Ember, Anya's loving 3 year old sister who has been entertained on our trips by playing films on a tablet strapped to our backs!
On Thursday 23rd July, Anya finished her 999 mile challenge with an incredibly well turned out cheer across the finish line at the White Hart Pub, broadcast live on Facebook, thanks to Gavin, photographed by the Burbage Camera Club (thank you for all the lovely photos!) and showing some reciprocated support to our neighbour, landlady Claire Pratley who has been incredibly supportive of us all the way on our journey.
With ice cream, and a medal (thank you https://www.facebook.com/mylittleblueduck/) to celebrate the occasion, (and a well deserved wine for me!), the finish had a lovely community feel and we thank you all for that.
Just look at that smile - it says it all!
Thank you Burbage for all your amazing support, the total raised so far is £1274 and I have to say that I am so incredibly proud of Anya for her resilience, determination, resolve and incredible sense of humour. We couldn't have done it without her!
The last video post is here - please watch to the end to see the story in pictures!
Anya has now cycled over 900 miles and broken the £1000 raised barrier! Last Saturday we arrived in Scotland - it looked a lot like Bedwyn to be fair! It really seemed like a milestone - this last leg has been a long one, so we celebrated with a wee dram (for Mummy and Daddy) but the girls weren't interested in IrnBru..
On Monday, we had made our way to Dalbeattie and shared a video with Granny's Uncle Ian and Aunt Anne who had donated to our cause! It's lovely how we are still connecting with family even through this crisis!
Anya was on the radio once more (link 1:55 in) and we all feel like we're on the homeward stretch!
We are hoping to reach Glasgow next Monday, when Anya is featuring in one of Daddy's cross functional conference calls to say thank you to all our Glaswegian colleagues who have donated so generously!
If everything goes to plan, we will reach Edinburgh on Friday 24th July, 4 months and 1 day since we started this journey! And there we will leave our cycles for a few weeks whilst the girls go to their Nanny's and Grandad's house and we try and get a summer break in!
In fact her entire journey will be the equivalent of cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End and then home to Burbage again! No wonder it's taken us all of lockdown!
Some great news this update is that Anya now has perfectly formed teeth once again, thanks to the miraculous work undertaken by our dentist.
They look amazing and we are absolutely in awe at what these magicians can do, even under COVID restrictions! Think we may remember this specific trip to the dentist for quite some time!
Now with Anya being back at school, you may think we'd struggle to get as many miles in as we did when we were "schooling from home", but actually, when the weather allows (so much rain and wind recently!!), Anya has been cycling before school (to drop Ember off at Sunflowers), lunch time and then again in the evening (to pick Ember up from Sunflowers)! So our mileage hasn't changed that much, just the scenery!
And what great scenery it is, again we are grateful that we live in Burbage, our village is so beautiful and the people are so supportive (I'd really like to thank the owner of the bunny rabbits in the front garden along Eastcourt Road - it took us a long time to clock that they weren't actually real - they even change positions!) It's amazing how much more we notice as we cycle along rather than hurtling everywhere in cars!
On that note, I'd like to thank all the considerate drivers out there, passing us with plenty of space and graciously accepting our guidance when we can see more of the road ahead.
I do wonder where some of the other drivers get these new "seeing round corners " devices though... :-)
Seriously though, £972 raised so far, (even The Tooth Fairy donated £20!!), would love to get it over the £1000 mark!
Thank you once again, please help us if you can!
With storms and punctures, it took us more than a week to complete the 78 miles from Burbage to Redditch, Leg 2 of Stage 2, see the latest video
The next stage is the big one, 257 miles taking us all the way to Scotland. I'm desperately trying to get some more national publicity to keep us company on our journey and help us top our £1000 target (almost there £972 so far!), so if anyone has any contacts in the media, please do give them a nod!
It's taken me an entire week to write this blog and to finish the video but this leg was such a great one, I didn't want to rush it's story (that and split priorities with work, 2 birthdays and some sunshine!)
The 1st leg of Stage 2 took us just over 2 weeks but we managed a lot in that time, including the raising of Anya's media profile on the radio (leading to her first ever piece of fan mail!), in the newspaper and with the local papparazi . Thanks to Sonny, Larry, Phil and the rest of Burbage Camera Club for capturing our "arrival" back into Burbage in spectacular style and letting me use the photographs! Even though it was raining when we got to the White Hart, the welcome from the photographers, Claire and Lauren (and Enid) was heart warming. To the White Hart in general, thank you for all your support, maybe soon we can have a real drink with you to thank you in person and to show our support back.
A short one this time, but please take a look at the video and look out for us as we are cycling around the area :-)
It's only been a week and a half since we completed Stage 1 and started the first leg of our Scotland bound journey, yet so much has happened in that time, I thought it was worth a little update!
Firstly a massive thanks to you guys. We have now reached Anya's target of raising over £700 for the NHS (£710 as it stands today!) and it certainly helped keep our spirits high this week, as we finally reached our destination of "Torquay", where Anya's aunt, uncle and cousins live.
We rewarded ourselves with a little treat when we had our virtual visit and pretended we were having bubbles on the beach. Definitely deserved, even if I do say so myself
"So, what next?", I hear you ask. Well, since Anya is not due a return to school, and since we are still "WFH" we want to carry on cycling every day (or maybe most days!)
So, Stage 2 is born!
This one gets us from Torquay to The White Hart (thanking Claire for all her support) to Redditch (my aunt and uncle), and then on to Scotland to Dalbeattie (Granny's uncle), Glasgow (work colleagues) and Edinburgh (Granny's cousin!)
Which will bring us to a total of....
miles! Which seems quite fitting!
Do you think we can do it before we have to return to normal work / school days?
Check out our latest vlog to watch us celebrate in style - and once again, thank you everyone, Burbage is amazing!
This week was a tough one, not only were we one person down for a few days (Daddy's bike needed new tyres!) but it has been so windy, it's as though it has been against us on every hill that we had to climb! Sadly, we've also come to a bit of a plateau in our NHS fundraising this week, so at times, it's been a little difficult to self motivate!
We'd love to get just a few more donations, to get us up to £700, so if you can spare the price of a coffee or a pint, please help us to help others, we really do appreciate all donations, and understand how difficult it is at the moment.
Despite that, we did however manage our longest cycle ride yet, a 20.35 km trip via Bedwyn and the windmill. We also recorded our fastest speed - a whopping 36.7km/h (that's over 22 mph!) down Wilton Hill. Not bad for a 7 year old!
We reached our penultimate stop this week, Glastonbury Festival which we try and get to every year with the girls. So, while we were out cycling, we created our own Glastonbury Festival picnic - complete with "helter-skelter" (it's very similar if you ignore the sails!), glitter tattoos and bubbles!
Lots of fun, but not quite what we had in mind for this years Glastonbury (our plans for a yellow submarine Glasto Truck are put on hold until 2021! (see the video below!)
So far, we have cycled a magnificent 336 miles and with just over 60 miles to go until we reach our last stop in Torquay, could we be eating ice-creams on the beach before week 9 is over?
Find out next week!
A reminder this week that even though we are all stuck in lockdown, the world still turns. We may have celebrated VE Day quite differently from how we would have under "normal" circumstances, but actually we can all learn from a 7 year old's outlook.
She is so determined to complete her 400 mile cycle ride to raise as much money as she possibly can for the NHS. This week she has cycled more than 60 miles and has virtually visited a number of friends along the way. That along with school work, us parents both trying to work full time and creating 24 pieces of VE Day art to cover the front window panes, I have no idea where she gets all this energy! This morning I suggested a shorter ride so she can rest. She readily agreed ... and then set off on a 10km trip!
Whenever we are out and about and people wave at her, she is absolutely thrilled, and always asks if I think they have seen her on the blog or videos. So if you do see her, please smile and wave and maybe even enjoy a little "Go Anya!" That would make her day!
Despite all that's going on at the moment, we saw the biggest smiles this week when Anya got a little surprise from her teacher, and a lovely message from the Head. It was definitely the best decision to educate Anya at Burbage Primary School, thank you for helping us all through "schooling from home"!
Here is our latest video - please feel free to like and subscribe to our channel :-)
Thank you for reading! More next week!
Wow, what a week it's been - not only has Anya covered a massive 54 miles, she's also been out every single day, even in the torrential downpours that hit us. Not my favourite ride I must admit although Anya says cycling in the rain is great fun because she gets to splash Mummy!
With this sheer determination, this weekend we managed to virtually visit Anya's grandparents in Windsor, and her older sisters in Wokingham and Reading.
Thursday was a great day for our adventure, we were interviewed by the lovely Ben on BBC Radio Wiltshire breakfast show as part of the slot highlighting how we are making a difference in these times. It really makes me very proud when I realise what a special thing it is that my big girl is doing. On that note, the total now stands at an enormous £563 and we would like to thank each and every one of our supporters for helping the NHS and for helping us with your kind words and encouragement.
Here is Anya's Week 6 update :-
At the start of Lockdown Anya, 7, decided that she wanted to virtually visit all her friends and family since she knew she would really miss them! So, as a family, we started to use our daily exercise time to cycle (luckily we have some beautiful surroundings!) and kept a note of how far she got!