Handcycle Britain Interview

By Jack Ashman

After Mel's recent world record braking Handcycle Britain ride she came to visit Alpkit HQ. We made ourselves comfy in coffee corner to hearall about it, the run-up to the ride and her future plans. This interview works particularly well as audio. So play and listen along, download the audio file tolisten remotely, or scroll down to play through the video.

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That 03.45 alarm has become almost comforting, it was time to get back on the bike. Support crew reassembled we headed off to my start point, the exact place I stopped cycling last night. This is day seven of Handcycle Britain.

I’ve never been this far north in Scotland, the Cairngorms both welcomed me with big scenery of forest and mountain beauty, whilst also playing with my head. The road ahead going on and on and on, to my eyes it steadily drops, to my arms it does anything but, an upside-down world of cycling pleasure and pain. I talk about how I’m transported to a time of 17th century clan battles and time travel as I travel through ‘Outlander’ country. Just minutes later, before dropping at speed into Inverness, I see a sign for ‘Battlefield of Culloden’ and a knowing shiver runs down my spine.

Every day I feel stronger and I just want to keep riding. This evening, my crew are in agreement and ready to see me ride through the night. The weather gods are finally on my side, tested to the max, this is my prize. A moonlit still-wind cycle around the north-eastern coast of mainland Britain. For once I was grateful for the dark as the hills still to climb could not falter my focus. My outrider Stephen (riding a Sonder Camino AL) and I pushed on hard, the dark slowly easing by approaching dawn, neither of us spoke those final few hours, my only voice was to ride. I never thought about the end until I could almost taste it. Now here, I’m not ready to stop. 200 miles would have seemed an impossible day’s cycle on my arms, yet I am nearing the finish of my 850 mile race in under seven days.

A British icon of endurance journeys, and a personal journey that reaches much further.

Photos© Hywel Jenkinshttps://hyweljenkins.com/

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