2016 - #CYCLE4HARRY - Jon's Cycling Challenge
Over four days from the 18th May, 2016, Jon Ainley (Support Coordinator for Encephalitis International) set out on a challenge to cycle 270 miles from Malton, North Yorkshire (Encephalitis International’s Headquarters), to Abergavenny in South Wales where the Encephalitis Adult Retreat was being held.
In taking on this challenge, he wanted to raise a whopping £5,000 for the support services provided by Encephalitis International.
The route was as follows:
Day One – Malton to Skipton – 62.8 miles
Day Two – Skipton to Birkenhead – 70.4 miles
Day Three – Birkenhead to Shrewsbury – 61.2 miles
Day Four – Shrewsbury to Abergavenny – Buckland Hall – The Retreat – 75.1 miles
It may not have seemed to be the biggest challenge – but for Jon it certainly was!
“Before setting off, there was a lot of trepidation and some anxiety about getting injured, things generally going wrong and letting people down.
Stage Two was probably the hardest because we struggled to get the tracker working which was needed to keep tabs on me. We were an hour late setting off and the weather was atrocious and then we hit a housing estate which wasn’t shown on the navigation. It was a nightmare.”
Thankfully, his spirits were lifted by a welcoming committee who waited in the rain at the University of Liverpool. Among them were Harry’s wife, Rhoda, and family, Encephalitis International’s Dr Ava Easton and Phillippa Chapman, and Professor Tom Solomon, the director of the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, and his team.
“Seeing them there made the whole day worthwhile – it was lovely to see Rhoda and her family and have a natter with everyone else over a coffee.”
His final two days were also tough as he criss-crossed into Wales and England on his way to Abergavenny.
“The rain was horrendous on the last couple of hours on the final day. It really set in. Everything I had was soaked, my shoes were still drying out five days later and the bike was black with water and grease.”
But he had made it to Buckland Hall where he was greeted by cheering supporters.
“That was an emotional time. I was just glad that I got there. My wife, Andrea, was bawling her eyes out because it had been difficult, with a lot of angst, as she was scared that I would be hit by a lorry at some point! I think Rhoda and Harry’s family have appreciated what I did and I think the people at The Retreat enjoyed seeing someone do something in support of Encephalitis International and being part of the finish.”