We talk a lot on here about Audax, particularly because they are a great way to rack up the mileage without breaking the bank. There are also sportives like the Velothon and Castles & Cathedrals, but if you want to get some serious mileage in without the sleep deprivation of a 400km or 600km Audax, you could consider a charity ride.
Whilst you can ride a sportive or set your own challenge for a good cause, some of the bigger charities will arrange their own rides. We’ve already mentioned the Tenovus north to south ride taking place next spring, but these are a fairly regular occurrence. If there is a cause close to your heart, it’s worth keeping an eye on their social media accounts and website for any rides coming up.
These rides are typically well organised, catered and they’ll give you somewhere to sleep on a multi-day ride. However, they’re not doing that out of the goodness of their hearts. They want you to raise money before you even straddle your bike.
How much you need to raise depends on the ride. This sponsorship will typically cover the costs plus a healthy donation to the cause. The Tenovus ride asks for £499 in sponsorship, but a London-Paris ride for the MS Trust asks for £1,560 because the overheads are much greater.
How you raise that money is up to you. You could raid your shelves and sell every DVD, book or computer game you own; you could work extra shifts; raid your savings; sell your car; or badger every person you know for a small donation.
These rides are likely to be a fantastic experience but you may have to be inventive and resourceful to get the sponsorship money together.
With your luggage, mechanical support and meals taken care of you really just need to concentrate on riding. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that whilst many of us could knock out 100km or even 100 miles on a single day, you may have to repeat that the day after.
In the case of the London-Paris rides, there’s a third day to contend with. This means that you are going to have to get accustomed to recovering quickly. Fortunately we have a post all about recovery that you might want to read.
You’re going to have to get some high-quality protein into your system at the end of each day; hydrate and rest in unfamiliar surroundings and away from your usual creature comforts. Sleep alone can be a challenge in itself, especially if you are anything like us and struggle to sleep the first night in a strange bed.
However, as a way to get to grips with multi-day riding or touring as well as fundraising for a cause that is important to you, they’re an excellent way to go.
We will keep our ears to the ground for any charity rides that come our way, but if you see any that take your fancy, please let us know.