New Year, New Challenge

Fabulous artwork by the very fabulous Jonny Acheson


I love a challenge and thrive on the planning, preparation and training that goes with each new one. It gives me a sense of being in control – even if I’m not, challenges my brain and body – which can only be a good thing and despite the hard work, is usually great fun – what’s not to love?

It seems only right to start the new year by embracing the training required to prepare for my latest challenge and to share some of the detail.

In six short months from now, I plan to cycle from Brighton to Barcelona to attend the World Parkinson Congress, which I am an ambassador for. The reality is, I’m likely to cycle from Cheltenham to Barcelona but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it and I haven’t thought through the logistics of doing this additional 225km yet.

Brighton to Barcelona will see ‘us’ cycle 1,600km over 16 days. ‘Us’ is a truly international group of 20 people, nine of whom are living with Parkinson’s. The others are partners, a sibling, friends and friends of friends. We will meet in Brighton having travelled from our respective homes as far apart as Norway, USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. We are being supported by Global Bike Adventures who are responsible for the logistics – route planning, accommodation, ferry crossing, luggage transfer, mechanical support and bike transport home to name a few.

The arrival of a Wattbike along with the encouragement of the Norwegians to join their thrice weekly virtual Zwift cycles ensures there is no escape from winter training. Just as well, as we only have six months to dedicate to training and 100km a day, every day for 16 days is a BIG ask indeed.

I have just realised how BIG an ask it is, when a few days ago, a 30km cycle saw me average a painfully slow 14km/hr which left me exhausted for the rest of the day. It did however make me realise just how much training I have to do and was an unwelcome reminder that training gets a little harder each year as Parkinson’s progresses it hold over my body. Yet, there is a sense of still getting the upper hand when my cycling buddy reminded me last week that there are not many people in their 50s pedalling up Winchcombe hill on a dull, driech, January day. I’ll hold onto that thought when training gets tough. I’ll also hold onto the fact that exercise is the only thing that has been shown to delay disease progression and that in itself has to be a pretty big motivator to get out and get training. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you all for your support in 2022, your interest in following this blog, your comments and your words of encouragement mean a lot to me.

Here’s hoping that 2023 is a good one for all of us.

1 thought on “New Year, New Challenge”

  1. Wow what a challenge but I have no doubt you will get there. An inspiration for all of us fellow sufferers. I look forward to hearing as you progress with your usual humour. The very best of luck!


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