Sacred Heart Catholic School 2016

Kimberley Okino, Maria Aluko

‘coast to coast cycle’, whitehaven to newcastle

Their story, in their words…

“During July 2016, Kimberly and I finally accomplished the ‘Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge’. Even though it brought up certain issues that we didn’t foresee, the end result was all that mattered.

Triumph dropped out last minute due to other arrangements causing Kimberly and I to scramble for a replacement as certain things couldn’t get refunded. However, with it being the start of summer and the beginning of Summer Schools and Work Experience Placements, there was nobody available who could fulfil the role in taking part in this long distance cycle. The two of us decided to follow through with it anyways as we made the long term decision in following this through.

At 9pm on Monday July 11th, we got off the coach in Whitehaven – by around 10pm and taking the longest walking route imaginable, we’d made it to Seacote. We’d realised when booking the coach tickets that it would be too late and too dark to pitch a tent and was therefore lucky enough to spend a night in the Hotel, the hotel that our long distance bikes would originally be sent to. By Tuesday morning, we were out of the hotel and ready to start the adventure and within the first 10 minutes, we had already taken a wrong turn. After a quick ask for directions and placing the map in the right position, we set off again and this time making it to the coast to coast cycle path. We had been riding for a good 6/7 hours but from constant resting points and a lunch break, made it to our first campsite just after 9pm in the evening.

Melina (the owner of ‘Bridge End Farm’) informed us on Wednesday morning that we DEFINITELY WOULDN’T make it to our second campsite before midnight if we took the route planned which brought new problems to the situation. Before leaving, we took an hour to figure out our next moves and mapped out a completely new day and shorter journey. Luckily enough we booked an open return coach ticket from Newcastle to London and was therefore able to catch a much later coach on Thursday than originally planned.

In the face of pain, sweat, moans and excitement, Wednesday went by in a blur and was done after a 5 hour ride plus our usual stops and starts along the way. Around 8pm, we had made it to the new point which we managed to get it discounted due to our struggle with the help from Melina earlier in the day. Camping will always be uncomfortable, disgusting and scary but knowing that I’d be sleeping in the comfort of my own bed by the next night, made the experience more bearable.

To make sure that we would get to Newcastle Coach Station on time, we had to ride for about 3 hours straight on Thursday July 14th – with only a break for water when necessary. We eventually made it to the coach station with enough time to use the toilet and grab a few snacks for the long journey home. Immediately being back in London, we missed the calm and beautiful atmosphere that we were part of for 4 days as everyone we’d come across was so nice and helpful; but with bites, bruises and memories we can ultimately say we’ve accomplished the coast to coast cycle challenge.

Despite all the problems faced throughout, neither one of us would change this experience for anything. We wanted a challenge that we’d probably cry about by the time we got back to London and we got a lot more than what we asked for. So with laughter, constant singing of high school musical songs and a load of selfies, Kimberly and I had an adventure that we’d cherish for the rest of our lives and we’d like to thank you for making this a possibility.

Thank you Mark Evison Foundation.”