It was a damp, drizzly morning when the team of 9 cyclists gathered at Our Lady & St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Carlisle to start their 70 mile ride of the Cumbria Way. The challenge ahead was very real for some, never having completed this kind of distance before. Yet there was an air of quiet and calm purpose as bikes were removed from the racks on cars and prepared for day ahead.
The team, put together by local Ulverston business Forge Europa, was cycling to raise awareness of hospice care at home and overseas, raising funds for the fantastic work at the local hospice in Ulverston: St Mary’s, and for CAFOD in Africa where bikes are an essential means of transport allowing healthcare workers to provide medical care and counselling support to those in need in the most remote rural areas.
16 year old Joseph Barton from Ulverston, the youngest member of the team, had been training with his dad Peter to prepare for the day.
He shared his thoughts about the gruelling challenge…..
What sort of preparation did you do for the bike ride?
I love participating in a lot of different sports so have a good level of general fitness, but I am not an experienced cyclist! I have however spent the last few weekends doing some longer cycle rides in The Lake District with my Dad.
How did the training go?
Generally well, but it was tricky fitting in much cycling alongside my first love, football. I did build up the length of my weekend cycle rides quite gradually.
You spoke at some churches during Mass around Ulverston to rally support. How did that feel?
It felt fine. I was quite comfortable speaking in public and the parishioners in Ulverston and Dalton-in-Furness were so generous.
Your thoughts on arriving at Carlisle on a damp drizzly Sunday morning?
I felt tired, because we had had to get up so early to drive to Carlisle. Once I arrived I was quite looking forward to the cycle ride and it was really nice that a group of people had turned up to cheer us off.
Best bit of the ride?
Crossing the finish line! I also enjoyed reaching Elterwater because by then I felt confident I could complete the ride.
Worst bit of the ride?
Cycling along the A66 in heavy rain with cars speeding past me. The rest of the ride was on quiet roads.
Any scary bits?
Any funny bits?
My Uncle Mark was overconfident and cycled on ahead. He went the wrong way and had to climb back up the very steep road on Red Bank.
What would you do differently next time (if you ever do it again!!!)?
I would get a lighter road bike and wait for a sunny day!
What kept you going?
There was good support from my Dad and the rest of the cyclists. It was also good having three check points where my Mum was waiting with food!
How did you feel as you got back to Ulverston?
I felt pleased and relieved.
Glad you did it?
How are you feeling now?
Generally fine but my legs did hurt when I was sprinting in football today! I feel really pleased to have played a part in raising £25,000 for CAFOD and St Mary’s Hospice.
We’re really proud of Joseph and all of the cyclists – what a tremendous effort. Special thanks also to the loyal supporters who followed them along the way, supplying food drink and plenty of encouragement.
To sponsor the team and donate to St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston, please click here
And to donate to CAFOD to buy bikes overseas for healthcare workers, please click here