Team Chickenshed have been training hard for Ride London 2016!

Last year, after completing the 100 miles of the Prudential Ride London-Surrey100 course I put the call out that I'd consider putting myself through that craziness again - but only with the support of a Chickenshed peloton. That call was heard and over the winter months members of Chickenshed staff and parents of Chickenshed members began dusting off their bikes, oiling their chains and pumping up their tyres. And so it is that in just a few weeks, on 31 July, myself and fellow staff Robin Shillinglaw, Daniel Banton and Antonia Jater as well as four parents of Children's Theatre and Summer Shed members - Kirsty Brockwell, Simon Purrier, Ravi Malhotra and Noah Turner - will be cycling 100 miles through the closed streets of London and the Surrey hills, including the infamous Box Hill (a really long one) all in support of Chickenshed.

Week after week the team have met on a Sunday morning to increase the miles (and the more important time in the saddle) from 20 to 30 to 45 miles, up until Sunday this week when with four weeks to go we embarked on a 60-mile-in-4-hour dash!

Dan arrived late wearing a pair of Louis Vuitton’s because he couldn't find his cycling sunglasses and we met Robin coming the wrong way but it was a far cry from when training began back at the beginning of May when Dan rocked up for our first cycle in a baseball cap and a bike that looked like he had retrieved it from a skip on the way to meet us. Robin had started well, but 20 minutes after arriving home after that first outing, sneezed - and put his back out for three weeks! Antonia? A small case of vertigo (and she hasn't even seen Box Hill yet) that took her out for the best part of a month!

Two months on, new bikes for Antonia and Dan and a new back for Robin sees us embark on our final straight and thankfully the other team members have fared a bit better so far.

Kirsty Brockwell (mother of three of our CT members) has transferred all her marathon training nous to bike riding and with her pal and honorary member of the training team, Rachel Dervish (riding for Noah's Ark), they have kept us rolling forward with Simon Purrier and Ravi Malhotra, parents of Summer Shed regulars, and also Noah Turner, father of another Summer Shed regular, keeping us posted with his solo progress up in Worcestershire.

Kirsty had already bagged the 60 miles on the Saturday (due to having a half-marathon commitment on the Sunday!) so the challenge had been laid down and the team rode hard and fast eating up the cursed North London hills and we all achieved our goal of 60 miles in between 4/4.5 hours.

The official magazine for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 advises 'If you cannot ride 50 miles comfortably three weeks before the event, you are unlikely to safely manage 100'.  Well, we all made it to that goal and while we may all need to use the lift for the next couple of days and sit only on soft cushions we'll be back out next weekend for more of the same.

Matthew Lyons
Head of Membership