July 2016 saw three Cundall engineers take part in the fourth edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100; a 100-mile cycling challenge starting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, down through the Surrey countryside and completing at The Mall in central London. The event takes place over three days with professionals and amateurs taking part. As well as the personal challenge of completing the course, participants also raise money for a variety of good causes. With 28,000 people taking part this year, the event aims to become the largest fundraising cycling event in the world.

The three Cundall riders share their experience.

Maxwell Ikin, Engineer commented “In mid-March I signed-up to the Prudential ride London. This was the result of some healthy persuasion from a friend at JLL to be part of their team riding for the Starlight Foundation. The charity grants wishes to seriously and terminally ill children, entertaining over half a million children every year in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. Having a flatmate who works as a nurse, she quickly identified the worthiness of the cause, so partaking in the ride was a no-brainer.

Although a keen cyclist, I had yet to tackle the undulating hills of the Surrey countryside. I was also halfway through building a bicycle for myself so registering for the challenge was a good incentive to make sure I finished the project. I set about gradually increasing the length and intensity of my rides, in between frantically researching headsets, bottom brackets, aluminium spray painting tutorials, cake baking fundraising recipes and scouring eBay for cheap parts. With plenty of hiccups along the way, I finished building the bike at the start of June, giving myself two months to set about training.

On race day, after a relatively sleepless night, I got up at 4am, wolfed down a bowl of porridge with a banana and set off cycling to the start line for my 6.42am start time. 5 hours, 28 minutes and 4 seconds later, I rolled over the finish line with and big smile on my face. I had made friends along the way and expended lots of energy, made evident by my consuming around 1400 calories and 5 litres of water whilst in the saddle.

As part of the JLL team, I retired to their office on Warwick St where I showered, had a well-earned lunch and received a much needed leg, shoulder and back massage. I will be registering for the event next year, with the aim of finishing in under five hours!”

Alex Lees, Senior Acoustics Consultant commented “The buzz of racing through empty streets in central London behind a train of powerful riders, is something I will remember for a long time; an exhilarating and surreal experience which I will probably never have outside of this event. To have entire roads in central London dedicated to us was a rare privilege and the encouragement from the all the spectators along the route helped immensely.

I would encourage anyone to give this ride a go, it is accessible to people of all capabilities and provides a great motive to improve your fitness. Whether you can average 20 mph uphill or have to get off and push, you will be in good company!”

Calum Clenaghan, Graduate Engineer says “Alex and I were raising money for Theodora, a charity that brings music, magic, fun and laughter to children in hospitals, hospices and specialist care. Theodora achieve this by providing visits from “Giggle Doctors”, professional performers with a range of artistic/entertainment skills trained to work with children in medical environments. In particular, the charity support a wealth of practical communication training, enabling the “Giggle Doctors” to reach children with severe learning difficulties as well as understanding how to approach issues such as child bereavement, infection control and ongoing child development.

At university, I was a member of the cycling club but purely for mountain biking purposes where a fear of all things lycra, skinny-tyre and uphill came with the territory. So after signing-up to the Prudential ride in May and buying a road bike a month later, I had to come to terms with things like drop-down handlebars, skin-tight bib shorts, energy gels and clipless pedals (only hitting the deck once at traffic lights). Though not cheap, it’s been a rewarding learning curve leading-up to the event and knowing now that I am capable of pedalling many miles is quite liberating.

If anyone is interested in taking part in future years I would strongly encourage you to do so by either finding a charity with places or applying using the public ballot entry system!”

Max, Alex and Calum’s challenge is helping us reach our goal of 40,000 volunteering hours at 40. Read about the other things Cundall is doing to celebrate the 40th anniversary milestone here.

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