Janet Benefield, 68, who, despite not having ridden a bike since she was a child, has decided to embark on a 185 mile long adventure. She plans to ride the in Hebridean Way through the Outer Hebrides in May 2017, however she has had to overcome a fairly major obstacle in order to continue with the journey.
In order to prepare for the challenge, she began improving her fitness and increasing her time riding a bike. She borrowed a 1990's Cannondale M400 from a friend and started increasing the length of her rides up to 15 miles. However, the training gave her a terribly painful left knee. An old back injury caused by lifting her husband Chris, resulted in an ongoing problem down her left side. The ever increasing bike rides only exacerbated this. The riding had to stop and it seemed like her adventure might have come to an untimely end.
Acupuncture and physio helped a little and Janet is on the way to recovery, but her knee is still too sore to put pressure through the peddles. Looking at the different options we discussed the possibility of a Trek Neko+ Bike with Janet.
She had reservations about an e-bike but decided to have a quick test ride around the car park outside the shop. We were slightly concerned as 10 minutes later she still hadn’t reappeared.
Finally she did with a huge smile and her eyes shining with excitement. She had ridden from the shop on Brewery Street car park, up Soutergate and towards Broughton Beck! Flying back through the town, past the market cross and round the one way system, she knew this would be her ticket to completing the challenge.
The Trek Neko+ is a versatile electric assist bike with front suspension. This means that you must peddle the bike, but it has a battery to assist you should you wish. For more details see here.
Janet has resumed training and getting out for rides as often as she can, building up the length of the rides and her experience on the bike. Short rides from the house have quickly built up to regular 15 / 20 mile loops. Janet can now ride up the hills that she had to walk up previously, it has allowed her to travel to visit friends and build up her confidence on both the bike and the roads. “This bike has revolutionised my life!” she told me, and pretty much anyone else she talks to!
Starting with absolutely no kit, we were very proud to be able to introduce Janet to one of the brands in our shop, Endura.
Endura are based in Scotland and have been making and supplying riders with advanced performance kit since 1993. We ride in it, we trust it and we stock it.
The first item suitable for Janet was an Endura Gridlock Jacket. This is a midweight fully seamsealed waterproof and breathable jacket. It has great road visability with Hi Viz colour and reflective panels. For more information see here
Then a pair of Endura womens strike II Gloves. These are winter gloves, are seam sealed, stretchy, waterproof and breathable. They have a silicone palm and finger prints grip. For more information see here.
Endura BaaBaa merino baselayer. These baselayers are super comfy having been mercerised which leaves a silky itch free feel, have a high warmth ratio even when wet and are naturally odour resistant. For more information see here.
Endura baabaa merino socks which are again super comfy and have a high density merino blend with a high warmth to weight ratio even when wet.
A merino Buff which she uses every ride as a scarf, balaclava or as a tube around her whole head and ears depending on the weather!
Janet also upgraded the Trek Neko+ with a mirror, and had a rack installed ready to add the panniers. Buying the essentials over time has spread the cost and is making it affordable to get fully kitted up.
The planning and booking of accommodation continues. See the next blog post for the final preparations ready to go in May!