In early 2011, my little sister Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer. After an uncertain and difficult few weeks, she had an operation that we all hope has removed all traces of the cancer. The chemotherapy that she is now undergoing will hopefully mean that it has gone for good.
All through this process, Jen has received a lot of help, advice and support from Maggie's Centre in Cheltenham (http://www.maggiescentres.org/centres/cheltenham/home.html) and after I announced that I wanted to do something to help (other than big brother hugs!) she has asked me to try and raise as much as I can for this facility so that it can continue to help people who have been affected by cancer.
I have always enjoyed cycling but have never attempted high mileages so I'm not too sure why I decided to take on cycling the length of the country! I have since read the blogs of many other lejoggers (an abbreviation used for those who have cycled the route, or indeed jogglers depending on which direction!) and it really appealed to me (I probably should have looked into it before I said to Jen I would do it in hindsight!). I enjoy a challenge and I'm sure it will be an enjoyable experience in itself (!). To spice things up a little, I will be completing the ride on my trusty steel single speed Pompino bike. To those of you who cycle, I hope you can appreciate that single speed means only 1 gear (hence the title of the blog) so there will be no changing down gears when I get to the hills and no moving up into top gear for the descents. It is a question of compromise, choosing a gear that I can get up the hills with whilst not spinning my legs into a blur on the flat.
I have decided to start this blog as a record of my preparation and completion of this ride. I have already spent some time looking at routes, where to stay, what to take with me and if I have made possibly the most rash decision of my life so far!