You will recall earlier in 2022 we introduced Swifty, from PCB Radio based in Worcester, who called us up to say he had an epic challenge in mind to help make a difference to the lives of children living with disabilities.
And ‘epic’ was just the word to describe a 300 plus mile cycle along the whole of the A38!
We were absolutely thrilled that Swifty wanted to do this for Cerebra and when he told us he was going to start in Mansfield on the Friday and finish in Bodmin in Cornwall on the Sunday, we couldn’t recall a cycle challenge quite like this!
But from 20th-22nd May, that’s just what Swifty did. Here’s a flavour of his amazing journey.
It was an early start to catch the train to Mansfield. But when Swifty got to the station, he realised he still had an hour before his train arrived! Without dwelling on the fact that he could have got some extra sleep, he waited patiently and boarded the train before arriving at his starting point at 11am.
As soon as Swifty set off, it rained for a good 2 hours. He came equipped for Spring showers, though and donned his waterproofs. They’re not the most comfortable things to ride in, though and, as Swifty was in the zone, he didn’t actually realise when it stopped raining!
It was between 8pm-9pm when Swifty arrived safely at his first pit-stop, which happened to be Worcester and so it was a welcomed night’s sleep in his own bed.
Swifty saddled up in familiar territory and by 8am, he was on his way, with Bridgewater in Somerset on the very distant horizon.
This day was to prove the most difficult. It was 100 plus miles and very hilly. Swifty’s sat nav has a very handy feature, which notifies you of upcoming hills. To many, this could be seen as quite demoralising, but Swifty told us that he saw it as a good thing as it gave him the chance to prepare himself for the struggle that lay ahead.
At around 6pm on the outskirts of Bristol, Swifty was presented with the most difficult part of his journey – a 900 feet climb. And it wasn’t as if Swifty could take it easy. It was very important for him to arrive at his destinations just before nightfall so that he wasn’t having to negotiate unfamiliar roads in the dark.
With this in mind, he gave it everything and when he reached the top, he took a moment to reflect and take in the wonderful view. That’s when Swifty heard a voice say, ‘what battery have you got on the back of that bike?’ Swifty smiled and showed the inquisitive gentleman that batteries were certainly not included!
When Swifty arrived at his lodgings in Bridgewater, food was the first thing on the agenda. He ordered a pizza and had a quick lie down, waiting for it to arrive. The next thing he knew; it was 3 in the morning!
With a planned sunrise set off looming, Swifty decided to get up and pop downstairs to fix a slow puncture. The sight of the unopened pizza box was a welcomed one and Swifty’s intended late night snack became a very early breakfast. Soon it would be sunrise.
Swifty felt refreshed, but having succumbed to his tiredness earlier than expected, he hadn’t got round to charging his devices. This meant sat nav was no longer an option!
For safety reasons, Swifty would occasionally have to make slight detours and re-join the main road. No sat nav made this extremely difficult, but as Swifty had planned and revised his route before his journey started, he was able to recognise the names of towns and so headed for them!
That first sign for Bodmin was a relief that was almost short-lived. With nothing to notify Swifty of upcoming hills, the 3.5-mile climb just before the finish line almost took it out of him. But at 9pm on Sunday 22nd May, Swifty’s epic journey was over. He had done it!
‘I definitely enjoyed it. Before taking on the challenge, I did lots of training rides, particularly ones that included hills and so that definitely helped. I don’t like riding in the dark and panic when I know how many miles are left to a destination and the sun is going down. You have to keep on pushing, but there’s only so many energy bars you can eat!’
We are so grateful to Swifty for everything he has put into this amazing challenge and also for raising an incredible £700! He will forever be a Cerebra superhero.
Swifty’s challenge also made the press! You can read his article here