Leeds to Liverpool Cycle for Brain Tumour Research 💛

Leeds to Liverpool Cycle for Brain Tumour Research 💛

On 27th April, Suli and I attempted the Leeds to Liverpool cycle, a 126 mile ride covering the whole canal length, with beautiful scenery. We took on this challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research, Sewell Wallis’ charity partner of the year. This is a cause close to our hearts, as our colleague, Hannah Bateman, lost her dad to a brain tumour in 2023. We were determined to raise a ton of money and tackle this huge challenge head-on; neither of us are cyclists and we hadn’t done any training, so it would be an absolute slog.

The first 27 miles from Leeds to Skipton were pretty tough as our bodies got used to it, but nothing compared to what was to come! The paths were flat, level and straight; overall it was actually a really nice ride. It was, however, absolutely freezing as it was only 9:20 am by the time we got to our first stop.

We left Skipton at 11am (ish!) and again, the paths were steady and we were feeling ok. My bum was quite sore at this point and my arms and wrists were aching. A quick stop in Gargrave, to have a snack, and from then onwards the terrain was completely different to what we’d gotten used to so far. There was no path, just tons of large rocks embedded into the grass, and because the weather was pretty terrible leading up to the ride on Saturday, it was extremely boggy and muddy - it was such an effort to get through it. The bike hire place we used recommended mountain bikes to us, due to knowing that the environment on this ride can be one of the toughest, parts; the only problem with mountain bikes is that they are extremely heavy, so when we were trudging through the mud it really took some doing.  

The canal was super beautiful overall, but there was a large part of it that was shut off due to a collapsed bridge which wasn’t ideal. There were also many instances where we had to get off, push or pull our bikes up flights of stairs to then go over a bridge or rejoin at a different point, which didn’t help with how challenging it was.

When we got to Blackburn it was about 7pmish and we were exhausted. We both had sore bums, and we genuinely didn’t think we had anything left in the tank. A short sit on a bench, and a good pep talk to ourselves got us back in the right frame of mind and we got back on the bikes. It took 2.5 hours and quite a few stops to get to Chorley.  

When we arrived in Chorley, we collapsed on a bench outside a pub to debate our next step. The sun had set and it was pretty dark. We really wanted to book a hotel to finish the next day but the nearest one was 12 miles away in Wigan, and we just knew we couldn’t make it. It had been more than 15 hours since we set off at that point, neither of us could feel our bums, we were covered in bruises and we literally had nothing left.

In hindsight, we should have looked at a hotel earlier, but I think we both genuinely hoped that we would’ve been able to complete the ride. I rang my partner Richard and he said that he would come to Liverpool to pick us up between 11pm and 12pm, as we were that desperate to finish.

After a lot of thought, a few emotional moments and some chips in a Maccies, we decided the best thing to do was to head home. We were unsure whether we would have been able to get up on Sunday and finish with how we were feeling then. We got on a train, and Richard picked us up from Leeds at 11:40pm.

We were so deflated and disappointed, and barely said a word to each other all the way home! The train ride home felt like such a cop-out. We were exhausted and initially, we felt like we had let everyone down; now that I’ve digested everything I’m so pleased that we even made it that far.

We cycled 80+ miles through mud, stones and grass for 3 quarters of the way, with barely any training!

I’m so proud that we managed to raise more money towards a charity that is so important to our Hannah Bateman – we thought a lot about her and her family as we were pedalling, and that was definitely what helped keep me going 😊 that and all the lovely support that we had from all the people who donated, and our SW team in our Whatsapp chat that we kept checking when we stopped!

I never thought I’d be able to do anything like this, and I know Suli thought the same, so I am extremely proud of us! We were in so much pain throughout and we just kept going! The resilient recruiters in us definitely helped us through 😉

Neither of us can walk very well today, we’re in quite a lot of discomfort and pain and haven’t managed to sleep too well due to the adrenaline, but it was so so worth it and I’m so glad that we did it.

We’re going to get the train to where we stopped in Chorley and ride to Liverpool in the next coming weeks, so we will be finishing 😊 we are determined!!! We will keep you posted with the date as soon as we have sorted it. Thank you so, so much to everyone who has donated!