Ed, tell us your story
Ed: I’m an Architect at Hopkins Architects and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in some great projects at my office, including WWF-UK Living Planet Centre (in Woking), but the one that is a particular pleasure related to my hobby is the redevelopment of Herne Hill Velodrome into a 21st Century Cycling venue. Prior to Hopkins, I studied studied to become an architect at The Bartlett, UCL, which is where I studied together with Jason Claxton (from Adrem) – he’s a good friend and a quality guy, and we’ve all been through a lot together at UCL!
In participating in the Cycle to Cannes / (Mipim bike ride), I will be undertaking a 6 day, 1,452km ride from London to Cannes. The exhibition itself is attended by professionals from the Construction, Architecture, and Property industry. The ride was set up by Architect Peter Murray in 2006 (he’s still riding!) with a handful of riders, but has mushroomed to what it is today – a massive event of approximately 100 riders, with support vans and 30 strong team of staff. There are now various spin off rides throughout the year.
It’s going to be a huge undertaking to ride to Cannes. All riders must ride the whole of the first and last days riding (circa 100 miles day), and as many stages as possible (a minimum of 2) during days 2-5. There’s going to be some keen beans who will try and ride the whole distance, and that’s not an undertaking to be taken on lightly given that on days 2-5 average approximately 300km (180 miles) per day! Personally, I’m going to enjoy the ride and see how I feel. The weather can be extremely variable in Europe at this time of year, from below freezing and snowing to windy and positively balmy.
The charity aspect of this ride is hugely important – all money raised goes to charity. The main beneficiary of the ride is Coram UK, based in Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury. Coram is one of the UK’s oldest children’s charities, and was set up by Thomas Coram in 1739, as the foundling hospital, London’s first home for babies whose mothers were unable to care for them. Today, Coram helps children and young people develop their skills and emotional health, finds adoptive parents, and upholds children’s rights – a really valuable cause. The other beneficiaries are Article 25, Emthonjeni Trust, The Multiple System Atrophy Trust, and Tom’s Trust.
It’s been a tough and dark few years in the construction industry, and there has not been much spare cash around. I myself know what its like to be on temporary contracts and made redundant, but despite the difficult economic circumstances, I think its enormously important that the industry puts something back into society; the industry has been generous throughout the recession. This year, Cycle-to hopes to smash its £2 million threshold for money raised for charity.
How much training do you do a week and what is your training like?
Ed: I ride to work every day from South London (having a guaranteed hot shower and clean towel at work every day helps this!), which is 16 miles return ride a day. This is not enough training itself, so I’ve been upping my training riding 60-100 miles on a Sunday anywhere from the home counties to Richmond Park. Training is hard at this time of year – there’s often ice on the ground when I set out at 7am, and is tough when the natural prerogative is to have a lie in on Sundays after a hard week at work! My fitness has increased over time and rides are a lot easier, hopefully ready for the big ride!
What do you think is the most difficult thing you will encounter?
Ed: The most difficult thing I expect to encounter on this ride is eating ! A few years back I rode from Lands End to John O’Groats, and I ended up eating 5000+ calories a day. This is over double what I would normally eat. I find I need to eat an energy bar or banana whilst I’m riding every 30 mins or so otherwise I ‘bonk’, I start slowing down and run into energy deficit. The tricky thing is to eat when you don’t feel hungry as it will take your body time to process and turn food into energy, so I will need to be disciplined.
What are you looking forward to/what are your goals?
Ed: I’m really looking forward to the last 3 days of the ride – the weather should be warmer (I hope), the roads will be better, and the scenery should be fantastic. The roads will be closed with a rolling road block so it will be as close to a professional road race as its possible to get. There will be a great run down from the mountains, and then flat along the sea front along to Cannes, following in the style of great Grand Tour cycle races such as Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. I’m aiming to get as much out of the experience as I possibly can – ride as much as possible whilst enjoying the company, scenery, and most importantly raising some money for charity.
How will this experience impact your life?
Ed: I think it’s incredibly important to periodically reflect and take stock of where you are from time to time. In the Architecture industry it is often fast paced and stressful working, and so it’s easy to forget what is important in life. The reality is that there are always people less fortunate than ourselves, and so its right that we try and do something charitable to help. I hope this ride will help me personally put things in perspective, and at the same time raise some charitable money.
What advice can you give to others who are looking to do the same?
Ed: If you are at all interested in doing this ride or a similar one in the future – I would say DO IT! You will not regret it, it will be the experience of the lifetime!
Finally, do you listen to music while cycling and what’s your favourite tune?
Ed: I try not to listen to music whilst riding, but when I do I listen to a pretty eclectic mix: from Led Zeppelin to Miles Davis.
Thanks Ed, and goodluck on your journey!
We will be following Ed on his journey across France and will be there to greet him at Cannes. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed @adremgroup to watch this adventure unfurl.