Gemma took on the massive Deloitte Ride Across Britain challenge to support Sue Ryder.

An epic challenge

The Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB) in itself is an epic challenge and adventure, taking in 969 miles of British scenery, all the way from Lands’ End, to John O’ Groats. Gemma Dickens rode this year’s event, dubbed the toughest yet, most notably because of the horrendous weather endured both on and off the bike. To quote one of the organising staff “We had as much rain in Okehampton in 10 minutes as we’ve had in the last 3 years of Ride Across Britain”. Okehampton is only the end of day one, and Gemma and her team were in for a lot more.

We were blow-dried on the Severn Crossing

“Having got wet on and off intermittently in Devon and Cornwall, Bath lived up to its name and soaked us completely. We were blow-dried on the Severn Crossing, which was nearly closed due to high winds, and further battered by Storm Aileen as we carried on up to Liverpool a day later. Another participant remarked that “It’s like Glastonbury but without the drugs and with more Lycra”.

Having thought my tent was going to take off at Haydock, we headed further north and climbed Shap in the Lake District in relatively good weather, before descending to Penrith in a hail storm. Onwards into Scotland we battled with a constant headwind, and I climbed Glencoe at the speed of a snail on a day that we covered 127 miles.

In Inverness we took another drowning, resulting in a café retreat to avoid pneumonia and calm down from the mild hysterics due to the wet and cold. Finally when we got to Kyle of Sutherland and the end was in sight, we had a day with little rainfall.

Thrills and spills

There were plenty of thrills and spills on the way; two of my friends had minor accidents, one won an award for the most mechanical issues, we had a few sense of humour failures, lots of singing to help us through and one of the highlights was that I met Mark Cavendish as I was a Deloitte featured rider.

Toughest ride across Britain

Overall Rainbow RAB was dubbed the toughest yet, and through the adversity I have made some excellent friends and memories. I am super proud to have cycled EVERY last metre of this epic adventure. 969 miles (at least) from Lands End to John O’Groats with 54,300 ft of climbing!

There is no way I could have done this without my RAB buddies Maz and Britt. They have kept me going through the biblical weather, the perma-pain and sometimes downright agony by singing, joking and sometimes hysterically laughing our way through the physical, mental and emotional test we put ourselves through.

I have now raised £3,300 in total for my chosen charities which was far more than I was expecting.

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