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I cycled across the country to raise money for the BLF

With her husband and friend, Karen, completed the Coast to Coast challenge in May 2019 to raise money and awareness of lung disease.

I’d never heard of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) until my mum was diagnosed in 2013. Up until her diagnosis she was fit, healthy and vibrant. Mum battled hard, but sadly passed away in April 2017. 

I’ve got a burning desire to highlight the devastating impact lung disease can have. I completed RideLondon for the BLF a year before mum died. She was so proud, and I knew that wouldn’t be the last challenge I’d do.

I’ve got a burning desire to highlight the devastating impact lung disease can have.

Preparing for the next challenge

I signed up for the Coast to Coast challenge, along with my husband, Mark, and my friend, Ali. We trained in Yorkshire and in my opinion, there’s no better place! The terrain was challenging but very beautiful, so it was perfect for helping us prepare for the Lake District. We had the appetite for a challenge, and it felt good to have a goal - albeit a scary one.

Cycling across the country

The challenge began in Whitehaven, with cycling over 40 miles on the first day. The weather was good, the scenery was pretty, and our legs felt fresh. Soon the hills began, and so did the wind! After over 5 hours of cycling, we collapsed into our beds. 

Jelly baby stop, maximum energy needed before we started the ascent.  I think I may be bigging this up a little too much, sounds like we were about to climb Kilimanjaro!

The next day of cycling was also Mark’s birthday! We had a great start to the day, all downhill cycling and beautiful weather. After a disappointing lunch (fig rolls, flapjacks and dried banana, courtesy of our backpacks!) we tackled the hill ahead of us. The wind was so strong it knocked us over, but we eventually made it to the summit. It wasn’t a peddle- free descent though, as the wind blew against us the whole way down. 

The next day brought huge uphills, followed by equally huge downhills. It was cool and misty, not a car in sight, just an occasional sheep on the road. The speed downhill was exhilarating and so was the terrain – it felt like we were on top of the world. Our brakes were working overtime! The last day of riding was the easiest cycling, but by far the busiest. Madness and mayhem greeted us in Newcastle as we squeezed and pushed our way through the market stalls along the quayside.

We battled with our internal chattering - surely we must nearly be there! Nothing was going to crack our determination and spirit. And then we saw the sea, we had done it!

And then we saw the sea - we had done it! Now all we had to do was dip our bikes in the sea. We trudged through the sand at Tynemouth, passed through the little fishing boats and in our wheels went, one by one.

We raised over £1,000 for the British Lung Foundation and were so proud all the way along the route to wear our BLF jerseys. We now wear them on all our rides!

More awareness is needed to fund research and save lives

As we pedalled across the country, it felt so good to be raising awareness of the BLF and the brilliant work they do - it just doesn't get the publicity and exposure it deserves. We need more research into lung disease and to make everyone realise just how many people are affected by lung disease every day.

Inspired to take on your own charity challenge? Sign up to do a challenge for British Lung Foundation today and help fund life-saving research!

Do you have a story to tell? It could be about your lung condition, a friend or relative you know who lives with one, or how caring for them impacts your life. We'd love to hear what you've got to say!

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5 November 2019