I’ve always thought cycling is a great way to travel: fast enough to travel a good distance in one go, but slow enough to fully enjoy the journey. Even though I find it enjoyable, I’ve always been a fair weather cyclist, much preferring the comforts of my car when the weather turns bad.

Experience has taught me that it’s not much fun and all too easy to get wet, cold or both, so my bike(s) tend to stay garaged over the winter. Which is why I find it all the more surprising that I’ve signed up for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cycle Down Dementia challenge, which is all about clocking up miles on the bike from beginning of November to the end of January. I think there’s something that appealed to me in the longevity of the challenge (3 months) as opposed to a one-off type affair. This is something you must live with for a significant period and make adjustments to your routine that can be uncomfortable to contemplate. I liked the idea of that. So far, it’s going well and I plan to keep going, despite being shouted at, shat on, and submerged up to my waist in the River Arun! All this in the first three weeks. Hopefully things will get better, although I’m not holding my breath.

Of course, if you cycle (however little), rather than drive, you’re also doing your bit for the planet. Taking personal responsibility for our own carbon footprint is definitely the way to go if we want things to change. It’s no good relying on governments to get things done, I mean we can’t even leave a trading bloc without the ruling class driving the country insane. Or how about the motor industry? It seems they now have a vested interest in selling us premium-priced electric cars or, as I prefer, coal-fired cars, whose total carbon footprint is (arguably) as bad, if not worse than the options we already have! No, let’s get on our bikes more often and save the planet. 

And not forgetting, I’m also doing it for a good cause. If you haven’t had experience of someone you know being affected by the Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, in all likelihood, you will at some point. I’ve still got a way to go and if you are so inclined, you can follow my progress here