A mum from Ampthill is one of more than 700 cyclists to take part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, the UK’s most iconic bike ride.
Nicole Tur, 41, will set off from Land’s End on September 10 covering the 969 miles to John O’Groats in nine days.
The fully signposted route takes in the most beautiful parts of Britain from barren moorlands to lush green valleys, winding back lanes, stunning coastal roads and majestic highlands.
Riders camp overnight and there is hot food, regular pit stops, mechanical and medical support and luggage transfer.
Nicole, who is a mother of one daughter, blogger at Only Girl in the Club and ambassador for cycling clothing brand, Rapha, is a keen cyclist.
“I love the freedom cycling provides more than anything else,” she says.
“It’s in those quiet moments that I’m able to piece together what’s happening in my life or I’m just free to escape from it, those moments of solitude outside are so cleansing, it’s like a form of meditation for me.
“I also enjoy the social aspect of cycling. I’m a member of two clubs, my local Ampthill Velo club and the Rapha Cycling Club, an international cycling club. I was the only woman in my club for two years so I set up a women-only ride.
“To my surprise, seven of us turned up and we have kept going throughout the cold winter. Group rides, events and cycling holidays are all things I’ve done and really enjoyed.
“After my baby was born, in 2012, I got back on my bike after four weeks and set myself the goal of losing the three stone I’d gained during pregnancy and completing the first Prudential Ride London 100 event.
“The furthest distance I’d ridden before then was 60 miles. I’d hoped I’d do it in eight hours, but on the day I crossed the finish line in 5 hours 27 minutes and my 11 month old baby was waving at me as I did.
“The training miles at times were agony. 10 miles felt like 100, a small bump in the road felt like a mountain. Hills that I fly up now, I had to walk up. One day I caused some traffic congestion when a dustbin lorry got stuck behind me going up a hill. As the cars finally passed me they beeped their horns so aggressively that I started to cry. I wanted to throw my bike away, phone a taxi and give it all up but I managed to keep going and find the strength to make it to my goal.
“Those moments have really changed my perspective. They’ve given me so much strength and the ability to see how far you can come if you allow yourself to push that little bit further.”
Julian Mack, the founder of Threshold Sports, which organises the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, said: “Cycling the length of the British Isles from one end to the other captures the imagination of people. To be able to see every inch of that landscape under your own steam is a deeply rewarding experience, but, like everything in life that’s worthwhile, it’s not easy and it requires grit and determination.
“We have taken care of every last logistical detail so that riders can focus firmly on turning the pedals and drinking in the sights and smells of the British Isles, it’s just them, their leg power, their will and the beauty of the cycling machine, the basic design of which hasn’t changed much in a century.”