Monday, 25 February 2013



Some friends call it my ‘guilty pleasure’ whilst others call it my ‘dark side’. Well for one, it’s a complete pleasure and for two, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. As for my dark side, I would actually say it’s more light and glittery myself. I am of course talking about my love of the Eurovision Song Contest.

This year, 2013, is an important one for me. It’s 10 years since my mate Jude and I went to our first live show in Riga and I have decided that this needs to be commemorated. So, this Yorkshire lass is going to combine her 3 passions – Eurovision, cycling and inclusive sport for all, and attempt to cycle from her little flat in north London to Malmo in Sweden. I will be joined by another friend on this crazy journey, and together our challenge will be cycling around 800 miles – across Holland, Germany and Denmark. I will be raising money for Special Olympics GB.


Those of you who may have read my blog previously will know that I work as a cycling instructor for Bikeworks All Ability Cycling Club in East London, as well as train athletes for the Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics is a year-round community sports programme for all children and adults who have intellectual disabilities. It also includes a few days of events and competition throughout the year. The ethos is to promote and encourage sport – giving people opportunities, goals and dreams. It’s not all about the winning, but the taking part – being active, keeping fit, social interaction, learning new skills, pushing boundaries and most importantly having fun. 

I’ve seen first hand how the Special Olympics cycling programme has not only increased fitness, but given trainees confidence, self belief and improved their mental well-being. They feel free, independent, happy and empowered. It can be life changing.

Currently the Special Olympics GB receives no government or lottery funding and just relies on private donations.

Therefore, all money raised from my Eurovision cycle will go towards helping the following two fantastic projects: The Special Olympics National Cycling Competition (July 2013) and their newly launched national cycling programme, as endorsed by Sir Chris Hoy. (For more information click on the link at the end of the post).


Now, before I forget, the journey comes with 2 challenges. Not only do I have to cycle around 800 miles, but my friend who will be cycling with me up until Copenhagen has a little issue which could be problematic. She doesn’t like Eurovision. In fact, I can safely say that she hates it, which is a bit weird considering she’s Irish. Challenge two is this. Each day of our journey I will be playing her at least one Eurovision song in the hope that I can convert her. Watch the Siobhan-Conversion-Meter here!

I’m going to need help Euro fans. Siobhan’s music taste is more hip-hop, world, folk, funk and soul. So please write any suggestions of Eurovision songs in the comment box below. Together, can we convert Siobhan to all things Eurovision? An evangelical Eurovision fan? Moi? Now welcome to my dark side!

UPDATE: Unfortunately due to injury, on the 16th April, Siobhan had to pull out of the ride. However, being the good sport that she is, has agreed to continue with the Siobhan-Conversion-Meter Challenge. Don't forget to write your suggested songs below.


Find out more about the Special Olympics National Cycling programme here:

Find out more about the Special Olympics National Cycling Competition in July 2013 here:

Image of me as a bike trainer, courtesy of Bikeworks.


  1. Good luck with the ride Mandy :)
    I look forard to seeing you in Malmo where a refreshing beer will be waiting or you
    As far as Siobhan's "conversion" is concerned - perhaps Lindsay Dracass "No Dream impossible" might appeal to her musical tastes.
    I feel it is one of the UK's better entries but failed to light up the scoreboard
    Let's hope it serves as a suitable anthem for you charitable cycle ride too !
    Enjoy - Jeff
    ps Good to see you used the picture I took in Dusseldorf of you and Jude with Jedward!!!

  2. Are you going to get Bonnie Tyler to get on a bike?

    Great idea & we will be supporting you all the way.

    Matthew Wing
    Surrey Wheels for All

  3. Thanks Surrey Wheels for All! That's a great idea. If I spot her, I'll try get her on a bike. Thanks for your support!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.