The 137-mile C2C cycle ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth is one of the UK’s most iconic cycle routes. It’s also not to be underestimated. And, getting a puncture (from repairing a puncture) just a few hours in on a tiny remote Lake District lane is certainly not the best way to begin (particularly when you have set yourself what you later discover is a very unrealistic timeframe for completing the challenge).
Enter a lady and her dog, followed by her husband (in a first responder car) and an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
The man scooped me up, drove me to a cycle shop 20 minutes away and persuaded the owner to fix my tyre for free (I was doing a charity challenge to celebrate being five years’ clear of cancer and to support a friend on the anniversary of her father’s death).
We shared a beautiful moment on the return car journey to the exact spot where we’d left my friend. Our story of struggle compelled him to open up for the first time about his own challenges and, at the end of the trip, he thanked us both for inspiring him to take charge of his life and look for sunshine through the clouds.
The diversion meant that we were late arriving at our first night’s stop. But, thanks to this incredible man, we were greeted by a welcoming committee. Apparently, having looked up our hotel, he had called ahead and asked them to expect (late) two ‘courageous’ women who were doing their bit to change the world. They cooked us dinner, they gave us an in-room breakfast tray so we could leave before breakfast time and their generosity helped us through the following gruelling day.
We had exchanged phone numbers and his message was the first to congratulate us on having completed the challenge (four punctures later). I hope that, one day, I can pay forward his kindness when I come across someone who is stranded a long way from home.
- Jackie Scully, Executive Director