Here at DC Cycles our aim is to inspire, encourage and assist our customers to find their adventure and go for it! We hope to inspire adventure by passing on the stories of our amazing customers. We have so many customers going on adventures and challenges. Some last for a day, others for a year, some guided, others independent, some close to home, others further afield. Whatever the size of the adventure, they are equally as important and awesome.
We are starting our host of adventure tales with a local businesswoman Janet Benefield, aged 68. Janet ran the Tinners Rabbit in Ulverston with her husband Chris Benefield. They expanded to open the fabulous Two by Two which continues to clothe ladies across the country to this day.
Chris fell ill with cancer in 2012, at which point Janet steadily reduced work to care for him at home. Due to the demands of this, particularly in the last year of Chris’s life, Janet was unable to leave the home for any length of time. This meant she could not exercise or keep fit, amongst many other challenges. Chris very sadly passed away in August 2015. Sometime later, Janet decided to embark on a personal challenge. Despite not having ridden a bike since a child, being quite unfit (hopefully she won’t mind me saying that!) and having no bike and absolutely no gear she decided to plan to ride the Hebridean Way in the Outer Hebrides.
The Hebridean Way is an official Sustrans waymarked cycle route 780 which was opened by Mark Beaumont in Spring 2016. The route is 185 miles crossing 10 islands, 6 via causeway and 2 by ferry. It is recommended to ride south to north because of the winds, starting from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis.
Janet plans to complete this in two weeks and is riding solo and fully self supported. Janet’s inspiration is that she loves wild places, the open space and a challenge.
Where to begin? She carried out lots of internet research, joined social media groups, bought a map, a guide book and borrowed a Cannondale hybrid tourer from a good friend. One of the key first steps was to start riding a bike!
By all accounts it was a little tricky to get her leg over the Cannondale to start off with, but with a little practice and determination such obstacles can be overcome! She started riding very slowly a few miles down the road and back. She then built this up to a 15 mile ride with a flask and picnic by the lake.
She is really enjoying planning the route and the accommodation, which is all part of the adventure and gives months of enjoyment before the actual event.
She calculated that she would be able to ride 20 miles a day and started to book accommodation at these regular intervals to start the ride in May 2017. She has mainly booked B n B ‘s on the internet or telephoned them using the information in the guide book and from Google. Much of the accommodation is booked and the planning continues.
See the next post for the kit she has acquired to do the challenge, the training and find out how she overcomes an injury!