On Sunday 17th September Jo Meekley from our technical services team will be riding from London to Folkestone on the first leg of the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) London to Monaco event. We caught up with Jo to find out why she’s taken on the challenge:
Why a charity bike ride?
I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly sporty person but I like to keep fit. Whilst this mostly involves strength training in the gym 3 to 5 times a week or the odd game of various racket sports, I also try to commute by bike at least 1 day per week when work commitments allow. It’s a 26 mile round trip and takes just under an hour each way, so it’s a great way to hit my exercise goal for the day, and as I actually enjoy it it seemed like a sensible sport to try and improve my ability in. Now, those who know me will know that my history with bikes isn’t great, having been ejected from mine 4 times in the past 2 years, but as they say “what doesn’t kill you….”. I really hope it doesn’t kill me.
Last year BLUE organised a bike ride from London to Monaco (L2M) that raised over £250k for various projects they are running. I have been working with them on their Solent Oyster Regeneration Project for about 18 months. The project is a conservation scheme that is hoping to restore the native oyster population in the waters of the Solent to a healthy level with the aim of allowing a successful oyster fishery to be re-established. Working in the marine industry I am all too aware of the environmental challenges facing our oceans, and have a particularly strong aversion to plastic pollution in our seas. A recent holiday to Cyprus left me horrified and saddened to see the amount of plastic washed up on otherwise “pristine” beaches that were only accessible by kayak.
Why London to Folkestone?
I desperately wanted to take part in the L2M ride this year but being relatively new to cycling (by which I mean I didn’t even own a road bike!) I thought riding back to back for 10 days - and travelling over 860 miles in that time - was a bit of a tall order. So I set my sights slightly lower and decided to sign up for the first day; a meagre 71 (and a bit!) miles from London to Folkestone. One of the projects that BLUE are fundraising for with the L2M ride is “Beyond Plastic Med”, an initiative to confront the scale of plastic pollution and its impact on the Mediterranean. I was already tempted to sign up but this sealed the deal for me; having the opportunity to be part of an event that will raise funds to help raise awareness of the various issues facing our oceans and tackle them head on will be an honour.
What’s the aim?
To raise £1000 towards the BLUE fundraising target of £250,000. Any sponsorship to help me achieve my goal would be gratefully received and donations can be made through my JustGiving page.