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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Backchat: Polly Jones takes the long way round

This feature is about 8 years old

Polly Jones is getting on her bike for the first time since high school and heading to east Asia in a bid to raise £20,000 for a range of charities

Polly Jones
Polly Jones

Cycling is not really my thing. Before this year I hadn’t been on a bike since high school and even then I didn’t own one.

Yet this year I decided to bite the bullet and take part in quite a daunting challenge along with five of my friends and colleagues.

We’re cycling Asia in September and though much of it is flat, there are enough hills to make a novice like me wince.

We start in Chang Mai, northern Thailand, then head south. We’ll do most of Thailand apart from the far south where it’s not too safe.

We’ll be as fast as our weakest link but all of us have similar abilities and fitness levels so no one is at a disadvantage

So we’ll catch a train into north Malaysia then cycle south down to Kuala Lumpur and eventually end our cycle in Singapore.

I’ve been training since January and have done really well. I’m not unfit; last year I did a triathlon for Bobath Scotland and was impressed by how well I coped.

This is different though. This time we’re a team so we all have to perform equally. We’ll be as fast as our weakest link, but all of us have similar abilities and fitness levels so no one is at a disadvantage.

Our target is to raise £20,000 for eight children’s and cancer charities. Our employers have promised to match the £10,000 we aim to raise as a team. Although we work for six different companies, we’ve managed to make them all agree to contribute equally, which was a major coup.

All told, the challenge should take one month. It’s a big undertaking though we won’t be alone. Two of our friends will be supporting for the duration with a back-up vehicle.

A few of us know south east Asia relatively well so we’re not travelling into the unknown, though that’s not to say there won’t be challenges and issues along the way. However we’re hoping we can ride our luck and finish with a flourish.

Our motivation stems from Laura, one of the cyclists, who has a son with learning disabilities. He’s nine years old now and is an absolute joy. So we wanted to give a wee bit back to show some appreciation for all the support he’s got over the years from the charities that have assisted him.

And most of us know someone who has been affected by cancer so we though these two causes touched us the most.

We’ve all bought new bikes for the challenge and I’ve been riding mine since February.

My thighs are a bit like Chris Hoy’s now – not a good look. But it is for a good cause.

Polly's fundraising tips
Pick a cause close to your heart
Plan well ahead
Don't take on an unreachable goal
Get your employer to contribute


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