Date: 4th May
A trustee of a Cornish based homelessness charity is set to ride the length of Great Britain in five days in the coming months – all in aid of the residents which the charity that he volunteers for serves.
Tim Styles, a trustee at Harbour Housing, a charity which provides support and accommodation for at-risk individuals who would otherwise be homeless is aiming to complete a long-held ambition to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats – with the aim of raising money to provide repair and restoration of bicycles to help residents access opportunities such as appointments and volunteering.
He plans to do the near-900-mile cycle ride across four to five days.
Tim said of his plans: “I’ve always wanted to do the challenge of cycling from Lands’ End to John O’Groats but up until now I’ve never had the time to do so but now, I’m wanting to give it a go.
“It’s the longest you can go without doubling back on yourself in the United Kingdom, with a distance that is just shy of 900 miles and for that reason, it’s one of the big events you can do in Ultra Cycling – which as the name suggests is long distance cycling. I’m aiming to do it in four to five days.”
Whereas some who attempt the mammoth cycle challenge do so complete with a support crew and spending nights in hotels, for Tim, his grand tour will see him live life as close to the reality which once faced the residents that Harbour Housing helps transform the lives of.
He continued: “I will be riding the route entirely self-supported. When you do that, you don’t rely on anyone else but yourself, so you don’t rely on a hotel, a camper van or a support team following you; you’re on your own and given the idea of ultra-riding like this is that you don’t really stop aside from get the necessary sleep, I don’t believe it’s a challenge for home comforts. So, the biggest challenge in that regard will be to overcome sleep deprivation in order to do it in the minimum amount of time. One of the keys of success is taking on food constantly when you’re not hungry, keeping energy levels up is essential”
Preparation for the big challenge is already underway, with Tim recently completing and planning to complete a few comparatively small challenges to build up fitness. He recently completed a 300-mile ride around the coast of Cornwall and previous to that, a couple of 150-mile bike rides and will shortly undertake a 360-mile trip to Bristol and back.
He’s aiming to undertake the marathon cycling challenge at the end of May or early June when weather conditions are more favourable. He revealed that the best types of conditions for an ultra-cycling event are either bright sunny days or storms. He said: “I’m waiting for a decent window of weather when there’s certainty of what lies ahead. To do a challenge like this you either want a day where there’s sunshine and little in the way of wind or a storm where there’s a force ten gale behind you as it helps to save energy. You don’t so much ride for the sunshine as you do the wind direction which can either be a huge help or a huge hinderance depending which way it is blowing.”
While Tim initially planned to do the ride because it was achieving a long-held ambition of his, he realised it was an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the residents at Harbour Housing and is aiming to raise £1,000 to purchase bicycle repair equipment and refurbish bicycles otherwise destined for the scrap heap.
He added: “I know there are residents that have bikes that need refurbishing or repairing, and my main aim is to raise enough to buy some tools to do that in addition to recycling bicycles that would otherwise be condemned to the scrapheap. The vast majority of unwanted bikes can be repaired and reused, and I would like to raise enough to do that. It will help our residents regain their mobility, particularly those who cannot afford to run a car or public transport as bike transport is perpetually free.
“It will help them access opportunities such as going to interviews or appointments they might otherwise struggle to get to.”
You can donate to Tim’s fundraiser to help Harbour’s residents ‘ride into a better future’ here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bikekitforharbour