Cycling Plus

HOW CYCLING CHANGED MY LIFE…

Abbie Brown, 24, from Essex went from hating cycling to embarking on an epic ride along the Scottish coast, all for a fantastic cause…

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HOW WAS LIFE BEFORE THE BIKE?

“I used to say I hated cycling. I thought it was geeky and the helmets looked weird. But in September 2019 I needed a boost and knowing my mum and dad have been on some epic cycling holidays, I thought I’d get a bike, keep myself busy and, if I got fit enough, then I’d join them.”

WHAT GOT YOU ON THE BIKE?

“The tipping point for me was my dad undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He had cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats while waiting for a date for his prostatect­omy. He said he wanted to do something after coming through his prostate cancer journey. I bought a bike in the October and was soon out on my local, flat Essex roads, often alongside dad. As I got stronger, we mapped out a plan to cycle the length of Ireland. But that all changed.”

WHY DID THINGS CHANGE?

“Covid-19 struck. So, the plan was to do a major ride with dad but the pandemic forced everyone into lockdown and us into a change of direction. From Ireland we instead set our sights on heading up to Inverness for the NC500 – a 540-mile loop climbing over 12,500 metres over six days. This was massive. I’d never done anything like it before – I’d not even owned a bike for a year and here I was preparing for this epic ride.”

WHAT WAS THE RIDE LIKE?

“We had to wait until September 2020 but finally dad and I rode a loop around the coast of Scotland. I was on my Liv

Envie. Aside from the 500-plus miles, we did Bealach na Bà, a 9.1km climb of more than 626m. It was tough enough but we also had strong winds and torrential rain.”

WHAT KEPT YOU MOTIVATED?

“We were doing it for a great cause. Not only for my dad but my grandfathe­r. He was living with prostate cancer at the time of our ride. He was no longer able to receive treatment but we kept getting messages from him and my gran along the way. It was so tough, and I was absolutely shattered after the ride.”

HOW WAS THE ACHIEVEMEN­T?

“It was the most challengin­g thing I’ve ever done, both mentally and physically, but also the most amazing thing I’ve achieved as well. We raised £2788 for Prostate Cancer UK, smashing my initial £1000 target, and raising awareness for men to speak to their GPs about prostate cancer. Sadly, my grandfathe­r passed away after we’d completed the ride, but he was proud of what we’d achieved.”

Abbie rode for Prostate Cancer UK: justgiving.com/fundraisin­g/ abigail-brown19

GET IN TOUCH...

Has cycling changed your life? Email us at cyclingplu­s@immediate.co.uk

 ??  ?? Abbie rode 540 hilly miles in six days, less than a year after taking up cycling
Abbie rode 540 hilly miles in six days, less than a year after taking up cycling
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