Claire told us about the event and why she signed up for it. "I decided to sign up for the Prudential My Ride London to give me a focus for getting back into cycling and to raise some additional funds for GAGA UK. The great thing about this event was the flexibility to choose a distance, and the charity to support, with all of the resources available to download. I decided to ride 46 miles, the options were 19 miles, 46 miles, 100 miles or a freecycle option and I hoped to encourage other GAGA supporters to do an event of their own. I know that people sometimes shy away from sponsored events as they don't like to ask friends and family for sponsorship or feel that it's not worth doing unless they are going to raise hundreds of pounds. For this virtual event, there was no cost to sign up, no need for travel or overnight accommodation and so it felt like a great opportunity for people to get involved and set themselves modest, achievable fundraising targets."  

At GAGA UK we certainly know how lots of seemingly small donations can add up to make a BIG difference! Some years ago we launched a £5 supporter package and today we still have 12 people donating £5 a month - that's an amazing £720 (even more with gift aid) a year, which can pay for 4 modules of a student's university degree in South Africa!

Claire told us more about her ride.  "I set off about 10 am following a route that would take me out of Warwickshire, into Worcestershire and Gloucestershire before looping back to Stratford upon Avon, my home town.  The first 10 miles were enjoyable, a few short, challenging climbs but nothing too taxing!  

Female cyclist with Prudential logo

Here I am at Pebworth, having cycled through Bidford on Avon, across to Ardens Grafton and Binton and over the Avon to Welford on Avon & Dorsington.  It was a lovely bright morning, a little breezy but not too troublesome and lots of lovely country views along the way.  From here I turned down towards Honeybourne and on to Mickleton.  Coming up out of Mickleton on the road to Ilmington was a little more challenging as roadworks had closed the route directly back to Stratford and lots of traffic were using the Ilmington Road as a diversion.  This part is also a bit hillier, taking me up close to the wonderful Hidcote Gardens but again the views compensated for the long pulls up the hills. 

Female cyclist with Prudential logo

I went a little awry on my plan after Ilmington and took the wrong turning at Admington, reaching the Shipston Road too close to Stratford upon Avon!  By now I was close to 30 miles and the lactic acid was building up in my thighs!  It was also getting pretty hot and my drink bottle was somewhat depleted!  Now I had a decision to make, press on to join up with my intended route or think up an alternative on the fly.  I decided to go ahead and try to get back to plan by turning up towards Alderminster, my legs were screaming by this time and I had a change of heart, realising that my best chance of completing the distance was to opt for a route I knew would be less challenging on the hills.  So I turned around and headed back to Stratford upon Avon with two possible routes in mind.  Either cut up to Clifford Chambers and return via Milcote and the Stratford Greenway, or head into town and do a shuttle from the top of the Greenway to Long Marston and back.

Female cyclist with Prudential logoYou can see from this picture that I was feeling pretty weary by the time I got to the Clifford Chambers turn off, so I decided that the Greenway shuttle was the prudent(ial) choice!! I knew this route would be relatively flat and that it was also traffic free, so if I was a bit wobbly (and really slow) it wouldn't matter so much.  I headed off from the Greenway car park and immediately regretted the decision as now I had to weave around dog walkers and ramblers as well as family's cycling!  However, after the midway point at Milcote the path was less busy and the ride progressed smoothly.  To my joy, the return 5 miles from Long Marston is a barely discernible downhill, and that little help from gravity and a gentle breeze helped me considerably! 

Prudential My Ride London 46 mile certificate

Arriving home I saw that I had cycled 45.8 miles and so had to do a loop around the neighbourhood to clock up 46 miles!  I was so proud to complete the distance, and to press on, in spite of the discomfort!  Thank you  to everyone who sponsored me!"

Claire's fundraising page is still open here

or you can support us in other ways, see our Fundraising ideas