It's getting near to the Ride London event. I have ridden it twice, 2014 and 2015. I decided to take a break this year. I do it for the Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre my wife goes to. http://surrey-ms.org/ I have been fundraising for them close to twenty years.
That's another reason for taking a break. This time of the year people start to expect the email or phone call asking for sponsorship.
It has been a great experience.
The first events were in Snowdon National Park. A person with MS is carried in a wheelchair with a frame attached by a team around a 10km route. It goes through the forest, sometimes on gravel trails, more often along muddy paths. I have been up to my waist in mud, holding the wheelchair aloft.
The best part was always near the end. The river crossing. A chance the wash the mud off. I don't think the passengers were that impressed. On occasion the river was pretty deep and fast flowing. I wish I had pictures for back then. They are around but it was pre-digital. So I'll have to find the draw in which they have been stored.
The type of event changed to cycling in 2005.
And these are the events that have most changed my life. The first time I somehow volunteered for one, I didn't own a bike and hadn't ridden one since my teens. Twenty plus years previously.
I agreed to 15 miles that first year, and borrowed a bike. I had an exercise bike at home. Like most of them it was used to hang cloths on. But a few hours a week meant I was prepared enough for the distance. And I really liked it. I got a bike, said I would do 50 miles the next year and got a bit more serious. It was then that over a curry a plan was hatched to cycle with one of the friends every weekend. He too wanted to ride regularly, but motivation for us both when on our own was a problem.
But together there was no stopping us, except maybe heavy rain.
I gained a good level of fitness, lost two stone and had some great experiences.
I wouldn't have ridden to Paris, completed the South Downs Way and taken part in the brilliant Ride London. And numerous other wonderful moments with my friends, just cycling around Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
It also helps me unwind at the end of a busy, stressful week.
I didn't write much about these events, which is a shame.
Here is what I have written.