The preparation for the Pedalling Paramedics has been more like a rollercoaster. Norwich “Windmill” Chris Barnes, 35, talks about the preparation in his own words.
“This year the Pedalling Paramedics undertake their toughest challenge yet, cycling 999 miles over a gruelling nine days. Why 999 miles in just nine days, we’ve been asked and where are you going? Obviously, the answer is simple but quirky.
The challenge this year is called #GB10 and our goal is to ride into 10 other ambulance service areas throughout Great Britain (a ‘Tour of Britain’ so to speak). The finalised routes have been published onto the website for all to follow and links will be sent out each day, tracking our progress as we face wind and rain as part of the challenge (yes, we’ve checked the forecast).
This year’s test far exceeds last year’s due to the distance and days spent in the saddle. I remember the pain felt on day five last year and watching the rest of my team suffer with other aches and pains, we’re almost doubling our efforts so it’s essential that training and diets are addressed. However, the last two weeks nearly proved a disaster for the team as Tim [Wigginton] picked up an injury after completing the London Marathon, Matt [Broad] was knocked off his bike in Bury and I decided to ride into a van, leaving just five riders. All three of us are nursing the injuries and still receiving treatment. Don’t worry we will be there for the start line…the pain from our injuries will mask that from the saddles and tired legs (yeah right!).
The training and preparation has been a challenge in its own right due to the distance and shift work. Most of us have been out weekly, especially as we head towards the start date and some have gone on diets…well I have. I ate 500 calories for two days each week, cutting down on portions and fast food. I was the team fatty at 15 stone and I’ve lost around a stone-and-a-half.
So, that’s the ride planned and team prepared. This leaves only with the why? Apart from the act of clear lunacy, the reason is quite simple. In previous years we have raised more than £20,000 for the ASBF (Ambulance Service Benevolent Fund). The ASBF supports ambulance service personnel both current and retired in times of hardship or personal need. This is a charity close to all our hearts, so a very worthy cause I’m sure you’d agree. Please support us as we aim for a massive £30,000 target by clicking on our just giving site and follow us on Facebook Twitter or our website www.pedallingparamedics.co.uk, every mile will be worth it.
We’ve been well supported this year by some big names. Our union partners the GMB and Unison have provided sponsorship towards the kit and the charity and Endura, a popular brand in cycling gear. With all of this support, we’re able to fashion a brand new, bespoke team kit (which looks amazing by the way) as we zip along the roads looking like a professional team, hopefully providing further sponsorship towards our cause. The ambulance service and Orwell’s Trucks have also reliably supported us this year again.
We held a fundraising party last month in Clacton which raised nearly £750and a big thank you must go out to the wives and girlfriends who supported this, along with those who came to watch Matt sing ‘Fire-starter’, apologies to those traumatised.I also want to add a thank you to Tom Miller and Paul Goodchild who are our support team, they’re providing the breakfast, transport of kit and being our general dogs bodies. We need these fellas there’s no one to grease the wheels so to speak, without them everything grinds to a halt or doesn’t even start.
My back is still in pain and I’m struggling to sit on the saddle for a long period but I know I’ve just got to work through it – can’t let the team down.”
You can follow their progress and get more information about the ride here.
The Pedalling Paramedics also produced a video which can be viewed here.