Meet Hassan, one of the young people taking part in the Regenerate London to Africa cycle tour. Their target is to raise enough money to subsidise 100 young people from our London estates to get life changing opportunities such as volunteering trips abroad. Here is his story.I first got involved with Regenerate last year when my mate told me about a bike ride they were doing and I was really keen to join them. We cycled from London to a volunteer centre for refugees in Calais on some old second hand bikes that had been donated to us. I’ve grown up in Roehampton and have seen the positive effect that the guys at Regenerate have had on a lot of the young people around me, so I wanted to get involved and try to help inspire more young people from the next generation. I usually enjoy taking part in physical challenges and pushing my body as hard as I can, but the training has been quite a challenge. Getting used to being in the saddle for such long periods of time hasn’t been easy. There have been a number of days, especially at the start and during winter, when I’ve got in from work and I’m really knackered, to then have to find the strength to go back out and do some 30-40 miles on the bike has been very tough at times.
The training has gone fairly well so far, I’ve been doing a mixture of longer rides and shorter high intensity rides. Winter was a bit tough as I could never find a way to keep my toes from freezing, luckily we’re past the worst of that now. I’ve been in China the past 3 weeks and didn’t really train at all 😭 so I’ve got to really push hard this week and get myself back up to speed. The thing I fear the most about the ride is saddle soreness!! I’ve set myself a goal to try and ride the full distance from start to finish. I’ve never done anything like this before and although I’m reasonably fit I don’t usually cycle more than a lap of Richmond Park. I think it’s going to be more of a mental challenge and about really digging deep at times. Completing it will give me a huge sense of achievement but also I hope I can use the experience and our story to help inspire more young people and show them that anything is possible with the right mindset.
There are loads of places I’m really looking forward to seeing on the ride but there are two that I’m most excited about. The first is on the coast of France somewhere near Arcachon we’ll hopefully be passing by the biggest sand dunes in Europe, dune du pilat. From what I’ve heard it’s an amazing sight. Also on the route is Ronda in Spain which is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. It’s a cliff top town with an amazing stone bridge built across the gorge. It looks like it could be from a film set. Cant wait!
For more information and to sponsor our team please visit our Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/regenerate/london2africa