Friday, 26 April 2013


Nervous, excited, nervous, excited! I can't believe the day is here. I'm finally about to start my journey. Yikes! Before I do though, I want to thank all friends and family who have been so encouraging and supportive the last few months. You've all been amazing! I know I'm going to have ups and downs along the way, but when I do, I will be keeping the Special Olympics pledge in my mind the whole way –'Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.'

I really should be in bed getting some shut-eye now. However, I couldn't let this moment pass without choosing a Eurovision song to send me on my way. I was thinking for ages what it should be. The first song is always so important. Well, after considerable thought, there can only be one. It's not Abba and it's not Bucks Fizz. Eurovision fans, please be upstanding for 'Te Deum' – the Eurovision anthem.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


In 2012, Loreen from Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Euphoria'.

As a trainer for the Special Olympics cycling programme, I burst with pride when I see how cycling has transformed the lives of my trainees – changing attitudes, giving hopes and dreams and allowing them to experience their achievements no matter how big or small.

Jubel was one of my trainees. He was asked to write a poem at college and he chose to write about his Special Olympics cycling, clearly showing how significant it was in his life. His words express how special the Special Olympics was to him better than mine will ever do. Cycling was his 'Euphoria'.

Poem written by Jubel (Bikeworks Special Olympic Cycling Trainee)

Nice and stylist comfy

Traycycle and recumbent
I go every week
No pain, more gain
more pain, more
gain. I ride with
traycycle and 
recumbent, I pedal
speed of 80 per miles.
With cool air in 
My face, cool breeze
in my face with
blue sky in the 
sky, left and right
green grass with
big tree with
The green leafs
As if they 
imaginary tree people
cheering me
“Go J go FASTER”
I too fast too speedy.
Last year 1st time 
I came in Timelap
I did it in 4 mins 24 secs.
I was proud of it, more
Competitions coming up 
This year I hope I come first
I train with 
experience trainer
she encourages
Trains me up.
Teaches me.
New skills.
I pedal with
my speedy
legs.  I go
FAST and do
skills.  Why I
I do skills. 
People see me
they give me
sweet smile.
I smile back at Them.
After I ride
I get happy,
I keep mind 
condition. I keep
fit, stay calm.
I feel my 
troubles melt away.
I keep smiling. 1 day
My dream is to 
cycle in the Olympics
win gold medal. On the
V.I.P. seat. My support workers,
doctor, Mates and Family, my dream lady
Cheer Me, Support Me
All The Way To Finish!

If you loved this poem, please donate to this Eurovision ride and help transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Thank you.

Sunday, 21 April 2013



Well, it's been a rollercoaster week in Cycling Eurovision land. It didn't start well, as my lovely friend Siobhan who has been training with me throughout this hideous winter and was planning to come with me to Copenhagen, has had to pull out due to a back injury. Boooooo! She's gutted and I'm gutted. It won't be the same without her, but the trip for me is still going ahead. 

I've been overwhelmed by people's concern, but please be assured, I'll be boring you all senseless from the road via social media and texts. And, Siobhan being the good sport she is, especially as she doesn't like Eurovision, has still agreed at our efforts of a Eurovision Conversion. Hooray! Each evening I'll be sending her a song to critique. See the Siobhan-Conversion-Meter here. Any ideas are more than welcome!


Many people have been asking about my route. So here is a VERY rough route plan. It doesn't follow exact roads I'll be taking, but you can see where I'm planning to stop each day.


The fab team at ESCToday have offered to be the media sponsors for my crazy journey. They have been a fantastic support and the blog and logo are already up on the front page. Thank you guys!


Until this week, I had no idea that Eurovision had a following in Canada. Who knew? Well, with the wonders of Skype I had a little interview with one of the founders this evening and apparently, this should be out as a podcast on April 23rd. If you haven't heard their podcasts, please click on this link and have a listen. EscCanada


And look what's arrived this week. There will be no hiding now!


Although this is going to be a fun-packed Eurovision based trip, do remember that I am cycling to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics GB and their cycling programme. Any donation, big or small will be truly appreciated by myself and SOGB. Thank you so much for all of your support so far. Keep it coming! Donate here.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


I often see how sports training can change a Special Olympians life, by improving fitness, giving independence and empowerment. I've also seen how it can change the life of the carer too. Each time a trainee comes to the bike club or for their Special Olympics training, they often come with their carer. 

For a parent, seeing their child succeed is a time of emotion and pride. One such parent has been coming with her son for over two years. It's a fun time she shares with her son, but also a time for herself too. Listen to her story here.

Special Olympic athlete and a volunteer at Bikeworks All Ability Club

On the 27th April, I will be cycling with my friend Siobhan from London to Malmo for the Eurovision Song Contest. I will be raising money for a charity close to my heart – Special Olympics GB. Any donations big or small, will be really appreciated.



Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Blossoms should have been flowering on the trees and sheep skipping in grassy fields, but this week’s training was still snowy, albeit sunny and beautiful. I was in my home city of Leeds visiting the family and in between, getting some serious cycle training for the forthcoming Eurovision ride. It was cold, it was windy and by-gum, was it hilly!

As most of my friends will testify, I was very excited when they announced that the 2014 Grand Depart will take place in Leeds. I was therefore keen to try and ride some of the route. Only problem was, I realise now that my Sat Nav didn't take me the exact route. . . hmmm. Nevermind, it was a good one none the less. Here it is:

There are plenty of pubs along the way and lovely little villages, but what was amazing for me was that I’d forgotten how vast and epic Yorkshire can be. Climbing up to Ben Rhydding was tough, but in ‘Granny Gear’ with my legs spinning like crazy, I managed to get to the top. Sir Bradley et al, my hat/helmet goes off to you with admiration. In a fraction of the time though, I found myself whizzing down a very steep hill on the other side and in to Ilkley for a well-earned cuppa.

The next day I did a shorter ride in to Wetherby.

Again, picturesque villages, sheep, hills, the river Wharfe and a great deli on arrival in to Wetherby. (North Street Deli) From north Leeds and back, it was only 20 miles, but it’s a good solid ride and with the sun shining, it was beautiful. I highly recommend it. 

If you're from Yorkshire, you'll like the ginnel photo. My friends down south just don't get it.

And here are some other random things I discovered whilst cycling around Leeds. 
(From left to right: Altus Equus by Andy Scott, crocus peeping through the snow in Roundhay park and Trinity Owl by Antonia Stowe)

The little owl in the right hand photo is one of many. The Owl is on the Leeds coat of arms and there is an Owl trail you can do which will take you around interesting nooks and crannies of the city.

I think therefore, that the Eurovision song for this week should be one of my favourites from this years competition. It’s vast, it’s epic and well, it’s not about owls, but it is about ‘Birds’. This is the Dutch entry for 2013.

On the 27th April, I will be cycling with my friend Siobhan from London to Malmo for the Eurovision Song Contest. I will be raising money for a charity close to my heart – Special Olympics GB. Any donations big or small, will be really appreciated.