Sutton Coldfield fundraiser urges people to sign up for winter cycling challenge
By Philip Tubby | Monday 13 November 2017
A Sutton Coldfield cyclist who rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK is urging people to put their pedal power to the test this winter by taking on a new cycling challenge launched by the charity.
Justine Longmore wants people to sign up for the charity’s new Cycling Down Dementia initiative.
Cycling Down Dementia challenges participants to ride either 300 (Pioneer) or 1,000 (Epic) miles during the winter and raise £150 to help fund pioneering dementia research.
Justine used cycling as a way to clear her head while caring for her mum and dad, who were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
After watching them deteriorate and pass away, Justine decided to raise money for pioneering dementia research. She took her love for cycling to a new level with a mammoth ride this summer for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Justine took on a 989-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, followed by a 132-mile coast to coast ride starting at Workington. She rode for 17 days, covering 1,121 miles with 21,206m of elevation, and raised around £3,000.
“I have enjoyed cycling all my life, but in those dark days, when time allowed, I found myself riding my bike further than ever before. I rode loops that never took me too far from home, enabling me to get back to my parents quickly if needed.
“It was during one of these rides that I thought it would be good to do something that would challenge me but also make a difference to dementia research.
“My hope is that, in the future, others don’t have to go through what my family has been through. I would love people to sign up for Cycling Down Dementia to challenge themselves and help the fight against dementia.”
All cyclists have to do to take part is sign up at www.cyclingdowndementia.org, choose either the Pioneer or Epic challenge, connect their tracking app such as Strava or MapMyFitness and get on their bikes. Participants can clock up the miles on the road or on an indoor bike.
Cyclists can compare their distances with others interactively through the website for extra motivation and keep track of leaderboards. Participants can also join forces and compete in teams, so groups of friends and work colleagues and members of cycling clubs can compete for the top spot.
Whether it takes three days, three weeks or three months, the aim is to complete the 300 or 1,000-mile distance by the end of January 2018. Anyone who raises more than £250 will receive a free #TeamARUK cycle jersey.
Participants are being encouraged to share their progress on social media using the hashtag #CyclingDownDementia. They can also join the Cycling Down Dementia community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/cyclingdowndementia
The challenge follows in the footsteps of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s award-winning Running Down Dementia initiative, which has raised more than £400,000 for life-changing dementia research since its launch in 2016.
Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events Manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This is an exciting new initiative for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“We’re hoping it motivates serious cyclists to maintain their training during the winter as well as encouraging others to get out on their bikes and take on the ultimate personal challenge.
“There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this number is set to rise. That is why it’s so important that we work together to end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. The vital funds raised from Cycling Down Dementia will power world-class dementia research projects helping to shape our understanding of the condition and open the door to new treatments.”
For more information about Cycling Down Dementia go to www.cyclingdowndementia.org
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org