Why I’m Happy Being Scared

Been doing a little investigation into the whole LEJOG thing over the past couple of days. There’s lots of options and routes and date ranges – in truth it’s all a little bewildering and frankly, rather terrifying! It’s a bloody long way. There are hills. A lot of hills. Some of them really, really big.

There will be a lot of this

I’ve heard the midges in Scotland are virtually vampires and there’s pretty much no chance of avoiding the little buggers. There may well be camping. There will likely be mechanical failures. I may fall off. I may get injured. It’s going to be bloody hard work.

I’m scared stiff.

I’ve had the pleasure, though, recently, to meet the rather wonderful Emily Chappell. Truth told, I was a bit star struck. I mean, Emily is a complete superstar of endurance cycling. She’s a published author, a super-well-educated smart cookie, role model and member of The Adventure Syndicate.

Well, of course, Emily, it turns out, despite being all of the above and more, is also mortal.

I mentioned to her that I’m going to challenge myself in 2017 to try cycle touring, which means the dreaded camping. It takes me so far out of my comfort zone I pretty much need a passport. But I’m going to face my fears and give it a go, because, after all, what’s the worst that can happen?

To which Emily gives me the broadest grin, congratulates me and confides that every time she sets off on a new adventure she is scared too…

Last night I had a conversation with another friend. She’s also an elite cyclist and I look up to her greatly. More than a bit bonkers (in a totally loveable way) and has achieved some astonishing stuff. She’s going to be embarking on a new challenge in 2017 – it’s currently under embargo so no, I’m not revealing what – and guess what? She says she’s scared too.

So that’s two elite women whom I admire and respect a great deal who admit that they still find things scary. Which makes it OK for we mere mortals to get the jitters too.

More women need to know this. It’s empowering. It means it’s normal.  It means we too can overcome it if we just stop being paralysed, face up to it and kick it hard where it hurts.

And so yes, I’m scared of camping and touring and LEJOG but it’ll be fine. It’ll be awesome because my friends and family will be supporting and encouraging and loving me and cheering me on, just as I will Emily and my friend when  they embark on their next adventures.



So yesterday I said I would write a little about my plans for 2017. These aren’t ‘resolutions’ in the traditional sense. I have no time for that. I make them unrealistic and can’t stick to them.  This is stuff I want and plan to do.  It’ll be fun to look back next Christmas and see how I’ve done. And what extra stuff has crept in!

My 2017 plans. So far!

Family and Friends

Top, top priority. See lots of them.  Tell them I love them. Show them they’re appreciated. Remember birthdays and special occasions. Be there for them when times are hard. Be truthful.


  • Get my knee and shoulder fixed. I want to be riding my bike by April/May
  • Reduce my blood pressure (last reading was 153/92 – and I’m on medication! The one before that was 173/110!)
  • Lose weight – at least 3 dress sizes
  • Improve my diet – less sugar and fats, more fresh vegetables, salad and fruit. Take packed lunches to work. Reduce portion sizes
  • Reduce my cholesterol – December 2016 – 5.3


  • Improve my core strength. Thank you to Mick, Jane and Ju who gave me some suggestions and which I’ve already started. I’ll be tracking and sharing that through the year
  • Ride 1500 miles on my bike. May revise this if it’s looking like an easy achieve
  • Practice hills so I’m not scared of them
  • Cycle 100 miles in one day. This is a carry over sweat pledge from Kajsa Tylén’s Year in the Saddle. I failed due to injury in the date range. Doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten it. I’ll be logging this at sweatpledge.com as soon as it’s up and running


  • Easy.  Save more. LEJOG will be expensive however I tackle it!

Step out of my comfort zone – Camping!

I have a horror of this. Where is the en suite bathroom? How do you get room service? Where do you plug your hairdryer in?

I’m going to challenge this by getting a tent and currently plan to camp at Pedal Norfolk and have booked a cycling/camping holiday! I’m taking my credit card…

This is what scares me most about 2017 and I’m freaking out already…

Nottingham Girls Cycle / Breeze

  • Continue to encourage women and girls to ride bikes
  • Support them,  believe in them, help them achieve
  • Organise at least 20 Breeze bike rides
  • Mentor others to pay it back

Cycling Events (so far, at least!)

  • 4-5 March – Women and Bicycles, Broken Spoke, Oxford
  • 11 March – secret (so far) event with the Adventure Syndicate)
  • 7 May – FLAB Up North Sportive, 25 miles
  • 27-30 May – Pedal Norfolk. 50 miles daily Sat-Mon plus the dreaded camping!
  • 10-11 June- cycle to WFA get together in Leicestershire and camp!
  • 25 June- Great Notts Bike Ride, 50 miles. Poss more?
  • 12-21 August- WFA. Cycle touring in France! With camping!  Approx 240 miles


  • Keep this blog up to date
  • Don’t be too hard on myself
  • Sing loud and proud at choir
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Keep getting up when I fail
  • Take no shit. From anyone!

I’m sorry that’s so lengthy but I have a lot in my head right now and I really think 2017 will be the most fun ever! And if all else fails, courtesy of CWRB this:

A New Year

So. It’s been a little while since I posted anything but it’s time I revived this as I’m planning on it being a record of how I get on over the next couple of years.

Since I was last here, well, a lot has happened. This Girl Can changed my life. I’ve been on TV (This Girl Can), become a This Girl Can ambassador, made the most amazing new friends for life and even bought a new bike! 

Here’s my beautiful new Genesis Tour de Fer 2016, Queen Bess

I’ve been lucky to lead out The Women’s Tour at the Nottingham stage with my amazing ladies from Nottingham Girls Cycle which has grown from a shell of an idea between me and my friend,  Jo Ward, into a fabulous group of supportive women who cycle. I became a Breeze champion. I watched my inspirational friend, Kajsa Tylén, become a world record holder.

There really are too many amazing things to count and I wish I’d kept a record here of all of that.

There’s some bad stuff too. I’m still recovering from a bike fall related shoulder dislocation that took out my long bicep tendon in December 2015. I did ribs and shredded my legs in June when I fell off my bike again in the Great Notts Bike Ride. And on 6 November I had the most innocuous fall – walking on a pavement – which has done ‘something’ to my knee. What, I don’t know exactly because it’s still pretty horrible but I’m getting my MRI results on Tuesday.

So, 2015/2016 have been pretty wonderful. Here’s a nutshell of 2016.


I’ll be posting tomorrow about my 2017 plans, but for today I really want to get it out there what my plan is for next year!

It’s hard to admit, but in 2018 I’ll be 50. So I wanted to set myself a challenge to really mark the year. I’ve decided that 2018 for me means LEJOG.

Not the actual route. This one’s more or less central so it looks best on the pics!

There’s no dates, routes, methods etc yet. It’s just a loose plan so there’s a lot of thought and planning and training to take place yet. However,  I firmly believe that getting it out there commits me to it. I’m going to need a lot of support,  motivation and ass kicking on the way, but bring it on! 2017 is as all about getting ready to do this!