Charity Cycle to BCO Conference in Copenhagen / Live Blog by David Mather

Thank you for visiting my blogpost, this was written live during the ride and will not be updated further. If you can support the ride by donating to our Just Giving page here it will, of course, be greatly appreciated. We are riding to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity Mind.

Wednesday 5/6/19 - Halmstad to Copenhagen - 146km

Day 3 started with considerable aching from the nearly 200 miles of cycling completed since starting the week, however my spirits were good and I was determined to have a good ride to the finish!

The ride was proving increasingly difficult with high speed head winds amplifying the problem failing to keep up and then falling off the back of the peloton. I concentrated my efforts on sticking to the peloton as much as my legs would allow and made good progress. Later in the morning session we had a climb of 500 feet. It was quite steep in places, and hard work under the blazing sunshine (in stark contrast to the thunderstorms on day one). One of the group had a fall and a few of us needed to walk and to be encouraged to continue onwards and upwards to reach the top. Our reward was an incredible descent with high speed for considerable amount of time - this descent was the highlight of the ride for me, it was great fun!

After the well needed break for coffee and cake I unfortunately suffered a second puncture of the event - this time I was lent a replacement wheel and was on my way again very quickly.

The final part of the ride was brilliant, cycling into Copenhagen with an increasing sense of achievement for having completed the ride. There was a great welcome party for us and I was very pleased to have completed the ride. If I attempt an event like this again I will certainly increase my training to suit, the challenge of cycling in a group is that you can not rest/slow down when individuals require it, something which I had not appreciated during the majority of my training where I was cycling alone.

Tuesday 4/6/19 - Gothenburg to Halmstad - 167km

Tuesdays ride went well. A couple of very long stages before a well earned lunch and a further 47km to reach our destination. Over 102 miles completed! A sports massage was welcome to help keep me going for tomorrow - looking forward to cycling in two different countries on the way to Copenhagen!

Monday 3/6/19 - Gothenburg loop - 153km

After a lovely morning over breakfast the heavens opened with thunder and lightning for the start of our ride. 28 miles in and at coffee stop 1, weather is looking a bit better for the next stage.

56 miles completed and stopped for lunch. This ride is tough, weather has held for the 2nd stage which is good. Our pace is fast, but the team mentally is strong and everyone is supporting and helping each other. It was a very tough stage for me but got through it and will hopefully be stronger after this break.

Sunday 2/6/19 - Travel to Gothenburg, Sweden 🇸🇪

An early start (4am alarm) for today’s travel to Sweden. Flight took off on time so all running smoothly so far. Here’s a quick video of today:

November 2018 - May 2019 - Training

With 29 weeks before the 300 mile cycle challenge I knew I had enough time to build up my fitness and saddle time - but needed to get started - so I promptly joined a local gym. I didn’t formalise a training plan but aimed to increase cycling distance over 28 weeks with a rest week ahead of the event.

Training record graph… 🤞 it’s enough!

Training record graph… 🤞 it’s enough!

I chose a gym with Wattbike’s as I find these bikes feel quite similar to a real road bike with their set up and the ‘feel’ of the resistance. Wattbikes use a combination of magnetic and air resistance. This combination works really well at providing both a base inertia to simulate the rolling resistance of the bike and an additional air resistance by turning fan blades against varying amounts of restricted openings. I clocked up 225 miles on the Wattbike, mainly in the first half of the training.

In February I dusted off my road bike and began training out on the road. My bike needed a few maintenance items taken care of too. I changed my original tyres which have been used since 2015 and had done about 500 miles for new Continental Gatorskin tyres as these came recommended by my wife, who herself completed a charity ride going from London to Paris. These should reduce the risk of punctures. I also had new brake pads, new gear and brake cables, wheel alignment and full grease/lubrication in a full service. With the bike running like clockwork it was time to start pushing out the distance and increasing the number of hours in the saddle.

I completed total of 517 miles over 14 weeks. This has pretty much doubled the mileage on my 4 year old road bike! Some notable rides included cycling to Windsor twice, cycling uphill for what seemed like forever to lunch with a friend and a round the Isle of Wight cycle event with my sister, her boyfriend and his father. Not all the rides went smoothly with a few lessons learnt a long the way. It’s obvious, and I was told before, but I now know from first hand experience the importance of staying hydrated and eating enough calories to fuel the long rides. Only one ride ended with giving up and jumping on a train home - thank goodness for Apple Pay too as guess who didn’t take any cash or cards with them!

All in all I feel ready to take on the challenge, with a healthy amount of nerves for taking on something which I’ve not experienced before. Ideally my training would have included back-to-back long cycles but fingers crossed I’ve done enough.

A shot from the final training ride to Windsor.

A shot from the final training ride to Windsor.

Charity Cycle to Copenhagen by David Mather

For the charity Mind in June 2019 I'll be participating in a charity cycle ride with the BCO (British Council of Offices). I am cycling from Gothenburg, in Sweden, to Copenhagen, in Denmark. The ride will cover 300 miles.

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. I would be grateful if you would be able to support this great cause.

I will post updates to and LinkedIn and there will updates from the BCO so you can follow our progress. Thank you in advance for supporting this event and the charity cause.

I would like to thank JDP (my employer) for their support of this event and the opportunity for me to participate. Across the BCO Conference an ambitious target of £20,000 has been set which will make a real difference. Mental Health affects one in four people in the UK and the support services offered by Mind are vital for helping people identify and manage mental health problems.

 Please visit the Just Giving page to find out more and to donate.

This article has been adapted from its original posting on LinkedIn