January 2015 and it is almost a year since TREK offered to support our team of five women ‘cyclists’ so that we could enter L’Etape du Tour 2015 and raise awareness and money for a very small autism and communication charity called Puzzle Centre.
Since then, each of us has learnt to ride a bike all over again, almost as if we are learning for the first time. Gone are the boneshakers that were rusting at the back of our sheds and thanks to TREK Bikes UK we have acquired the skills to ride a proper bike, a road bike, the rather magnificent and it seems transforming, SILQUE SLX.
When we got the bikes, it was like taking a new-born home from the hospital for the first time – we all just sat and looked at them in the lounge thinking…now what? Little did we know how much we had to learn, how much there would be to think about on the bike: cleats, gears, zero speed falls, padded knickers, road cycling etiquette and the over-whelming fear of having a puncture, not to mention the hills…
Now we are well into our journey which will end in July at La Toussuire. It is hard to believe we are the same group of women who could be heard in the lanes of Buckinghamshire back in September shouting to each other, ‘What gear are you in?’ To the seasoned riders who have joined our Sunday rides, we talk too much (and if you’re talking too much, you’re not working hard enough apparently), but talking is how we have encouraged one another, laughed at our demons and created a team spirit determined to succeed.
For each of us, being one of the Puzzle 5, is a personal challenge, a bucket list must and an honour.
What will take us over the mountains is what motivates us all to get up and ride when it’s cold and miserable and when we’re tired and our legs ache - our reason for doing this, Puzzle Centre.
Puzzle Centre is a place of hope and joy for very young children and families of children with autism. More of these children need and deserve their help and support.