A round of applause for these two wonder women, who are taking on a super cycling challenge to raise money and awareness for Action for Medical Research. We spoke to Leanne Hall and Kirby Lyons to find out more about their upcoming charity challenge and what made them put pedal to the metal (or at least around in circles while connected to it) and head to Paris – Tour de France style…
What made you ladies decide to support Action for Medical Research and why this particular challenge?
Action Medical Research is the leading UK-wide charity funding vital research to help sick and disabled babies and children. Almost everyone has been touched in some way by their ground-breaking work, like the first polio vaccines in the UK, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine. We feel honoured to be part of this challenge, and to help in any way possible to raise as much as we can for an incredible charity.
Kirby has taken after her dad who did so much for charity in his lifetime, cycling all over the world… he definitely passed on the love and passion for getting out on the bike, especially for a good cause. And also a challenge like this enables you to push your limits and realise what you’re capable of!
We will be in the saddle for 4 days, cycling a little over 300 miles from London to Paris, from one iconic capital city to another. We will also be cycling alongside Tour De France Olympian Sean Yates, and we will be lucky enough to watch this year’s Tour De France cyclists cross the finish line. Finishing under the Eiffel Tower will be a challenge to remember. We are a tad anxious about the challenge ahead but mostly very excited…bring it on!
Have you ever done anything like this before? Run up a mountain, shaved your head, sat in a bath of beans?
Over the years Leanne has always been a keen fundraiser, doing all sorts from bake sales to charity walks to support the vital work for both local and worldwide charities.
And Kirby embarked on a similar challenge, cycling from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town in South Africa alongside her mum and an incredible group of people, fundraising for Jersey Hospice Care. Kirby’s dad did many of the Jersey Hospice Cycles all the over the globe, so it seemed right we give it our best shot, cycling through the breathtaking iconic Garden Route National Park, and being lucky enough to to see whales, elephants and cycling next to zebras, something Kirby will never forget.
How are you preparing for the challenge – mentally and physically?
We are both trying to get out on our bikes as much as possible! Though because of the shift work, as Krby is a staff nurse and Leane is a mental health support worker, trying to find a day to get out on the bikes is a challenge in itself. Leanne has also signed up with personal trainer Chris Veal, to rebuild her strength as she is recovering from a recent injury; hard work always pays off! We are both about focusing on what is possible, as our friendship has blossomed during a tough year; part of the healing process is realising just how strong you are, what you’re capable of and simply enjoying the ride with good people by your side. The odd cocktail doesn’t hurt either, especially after a long day on the bikes, watching the sun go down… cheers!
What obstacles do you think you might face?
Cycling in a big group is going to be an obstacle for sure! We are both used to cycling either together or on our own, so being in a crowd of over 50 cyclists is going to be very daunting. We both can be pretty clumsy, we have on several occasions collided with each other, so we might end up being the entertainment for the pro’s in the group. We never take things too seriously and always try to have a laugh along the way. Cycling up to 88 miles a day makes us feel a little sick and rolling hills through the French countryside are going to be a definite obstacle, more so for Leanne who is new to getting on a road bike. With a great team of people, we are all in this together and will encourage each other up and over the challenging climbs, as what goes up must come down!
Do you have any funny stories from training or since the decision was made? was the decision made under funny circumstances? We have heard of people signing up for things after a few beers?
Well a good story always starts with a few drinks. It was Kirby’s crazy idea, she was going to do it on her own but then decided to sign Leanne up after one or two cheeky margaritas… Leanne has not looked back, Kirby knew it was a challenge that just felt right at the right time.
We are both animal obsessed! So every dog we see we have to make a quick pit-stop for a few cuddles and a good chat with the locals, then back on the bikes. One of our favourite days was cycling through the lanes of St Ouens and we were about to climb L’Étacq and suddenly goats came charging towards us… how could you not stop to pet a goat?
Also Leanne is still learning to get to grips with changing gears, water sports is more in her comfort zone! However we were cycling out of St Peters Valley one day, a long winding hill, only to realise Leanne was in the highest gear the entire time. Let’s just say after nearly throwing up, she is finally using her gears properly! We have decided to call it resistance training at its best! And Kirby is slowly learning to put up with Leanne’s favourite line… “are we nearly there yet?!!” Ha!