Pedalling for Pandas

As the recent UK heatwave came to an abrupt halt for the weekend, our Head of Mobile, Adam Swinden, joined thousands of other cyclists to brave the inclement weather to take part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, a 100-mile bike ride though London and Surrey, starting and finishing in the capital.

Once he’d dried out and his legs had started working again, Adam shared with us his thoughts on the experience:

CB: What was your motivation for taking part?

AS: I don’t really know!

CB: This could be a short interview…

AS: I’m a keen cyclist but RideLondon appealed because of the closed roads and it’s around my local area and through London, which is cool as you don’t often get to cycle through a city. There are only one or two other closed road cycling events in the UK and so it was too much of a good opportunity to miss.

CB: How did you find the ride this year?

AS: This year was rough for me. In previous years I’ve done ok with limited training. I can get through it. This year, 30 miles before the end, I was finished. We were cycling into the wind the entire way. Rain wasn’t a problem, I mean I was soaked, but it was the wind. Everything was more effort.

CB: How did you get though that last 30 miles?

AS: I saw Kathleen (my wife) and some friends in Dorking, just before Box Hill which is the last of 3 big climbs, which helped. I took a few minutes to stop and say hello and they informed me that my friend was 30 mins ahead and I desperately didn’t want him to beat me too badly. After Box Hill, fortunately, the ride coming into town is easier, it’s pretty fast from Wimbledon. I kept trying to tell myself “PMA” (positive mental attitude) – I was trying to stop myself from telling myself I don’t want to do it.

Previously I’ve loved it all. The last bit is my favourite as you head gently downhill from Wimbledon. You can really push, but this year I had nothing left.

CB: So the weather really did cause problems then?

AS: There is a hard time limit on finishing the event and so they set up diversions to fast-track through riders who are coming in slower than this time. This year there were people opting voluntarily to take the diversions as it was so hard – this let them miss out two big climbs.

My time was an hour slower than my personal best and 40 minutes slower than my previous slowest. It was challenging!

CB: Why would you tell others to take part next year?

AS: Because there’s no other closed road opportunity to ride in London, through the capital. Also it’s a chance to fly through red lights!

CB: Why did you choose to raise money for the WWF?

AS: I did the 2nd RideLondon in 2014 and I didn’t get a place through the ballot so chose to ride for a charity and I opted for the WWF because I feel other charities, human-based ones, get a lot of support. Animal charities get left out a bit. I’ve done 5 of these now, 3 for charity and the others I managed to still raise some money for the WWF. Oh and you get a free massage at the end.

CB: Will you be doing it again next year?

AS: Definitely.

AS: Do you think you can turn that into something more upbeat?

CB: I’ll just add in some photos of pandas.