My last training ride

Lee Team BHF Captain

In the final countdown to London to Brighton Lee Sumner, Captain of Team BHF, talks about why he's finally taking on the 54 mile bike ride and his training so far.

The advice I’d been given by members of Team BHF really helped

Hello to my fellow L2B riders – my name is Lee and I work in the Events team at the BHF. I guess apart from a BMX when I was a teenager, I can be classed as a beginner cyclist – especially as when I signed up to L2B, I didn’t even have a bike and hadn’t owned one for 15 years.

The entire reason behind me taking part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride can be clarified in 3 points:
My family history with heart disease makes me want to do everything I can for the BHF
I’ve volunteered at the event for the last 2 years so I thought it’s time to try cycling and give it a go
I walked the route last year – and I don’t think my feet would forgive me if I walked it again

The question I had to answer was - is cycling for me? Last time I had a bike it had Dennis the Menace on the front….so it was time to set myself a challenge!

Lee Team BHF Captain

As a newbie, I followed the top 5 tips for a beginner as recommended by the L2B team. I:
Bought the bike and got out on it as much as I could (living in the Ribble Valley helps with some great routes)
Found a friend to cycle with (a little more experienced than me which was a help)
Bought new kit and been trying it out (Padded shorts – an absolute lifesaver!)
Got my bike serviced (I know it was new but just in case)

But the 5th tip was to prepare, prepare and prepare….now as that famous saying goes ‘it’s just like riding a bike’ but whereas in the past I’d cycle round the corner to my friends, this was 54 miles…FIFTY FOUR MILES! So one last preparation was needed…

It was time to show myself that I could do a distance ride…I didn’t want to come to event day and be the ‘all the gear, no idea’ guy so I set myself a challenge – a 44 mile bike ride to the pinnacle of the north, Blackpool Tower. This would be a new adventure for me – riding along A roads, lots of cars driving past, some downhill sections that would test my fear, some uphill sections that would test my endurance, and most of all, I’d decided it was time to try clip-in pedals and cleats – something I’d been fearing for quite some time.

Although the first 10 minutes and approaching my first set of traffic lights were a little daunting, the advice I’d been given by members of Team BHF really helped and throughout the day, apart from one little wobble, clipping in was great – a real help actually in some of the accents I was doing. And the downhills – well, I may have kept hold of my brakes a little too much, but I guess that’s something I’ll get more comfortable with in time.

But the big question - did I make it? It may have taken just shy of 4 hours (and a midway stop for a coffee), but yes I made it, but best of all, I really enjoyed it….like I loved it! Cycling to me was always a way to get around as a kid when my parents weren’t around to take me to my friends, but since I became an adult, I just drove everywhere…but now, that’s going to change! 

I look forward to seeing you all in a few days’ time, all ready and raring to go and smash the 54 miles between London and Brighton but also raising as much money to help up beat heartbreak forever. So the ride might make us tired, we may be beat by the Beacon but it doesn’t matter as whether we get there first or we’re the last over the line, we will of done it for this fantastic charity.