Powered By Me Challenge

This week sees the launch of 'Powered By Me' week created by Mieke Stones. At the start of 2017 Mieke set herself the challenge to travel absolutely everywhere by means of herself. That means, any meeting, dinner, social or work event, she needs to get there by herself, whether it be running, walking, cycling. I absolutely love the idea of this challenge. Not only is it good for the environment, eco friendly and super healthy, cycling around London is the quickest and most enjoyable way to get around. Check out my blog post on cycling to work

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Each month Mieke will be raising money for a different charity for this challenge. One crisp sunny Saturday in February, I spent the day off ironman training to leisurely cycle around Mieke and I's fave iconic spots in London, to find out a bit more about the challenge "Powered By Me"

Tell us a bit about Powered By ME

Longing for a new fitness challenge where I didn’t have to quit my job to cycle the world, or save money I didn’t have to climb a mountain, I created Powered by Me. A year-long adventure where I am only travelling powered by myself, wherever I need to go. 

What inspired you to start Powered By ME?

Having been a cyclist for several years in London, I often found myself going the whole working week without getting on the tube, and it got me thinking, could I only travel human powered for a longer period of time? At the same time, I was thinking about my next challenge. I'd completed a few Triathlons last year and didn't really want to wait around until the new Triathlon season in Spring for the next event. I was also exploring how to test my professional skills. I work in Marketing and am lucky to enjoy writing and using social media, so it got me thinking - what challenge could I do that tested me physically, mentally, but also got me to learn and develop new skills? Travelling for a whole year human powered seemed a bit extreme, but the point is that I really want to test myself. I am not getting any younger, have settled down and it's really now or never. And the best part of all, I have nothing to lose! 

powered by me started in January, tell us how it's gone so far for the past two months?

It has been so much harder than I thought and more mentally than physically tough. Not having a rest day for the first few months made me feel like I was going crazy, a bit like I was in this hazy bubble most of the time. The winter weather was a real challenge, it took me a long time to get used to being outdoors for many more hours than I usual. Actually doing Powered by Me of course has been hard, but keeping on top of the other side of Powered by Me; blogging, social media, networking, has made it even harder to balance everything. I've now completed a few months and have done my first two big rides, so am beginning to feel stronger, more confident and more adjusted. I can only hope this continues and come Spring and Summer I'll be flying! 

What motivates you day to day?

When people send me positive words of encouragement. It may be on my social channels, Whatsapp, voice memos, or commenting on my blog posts, these all make a huge difference and keep me motivated. As well as this, when people donate to the charity I am fundraising for during that month, it is just the best feeling ever. Powered by Me has also given me the opportunity to connect with other like-minded people and friends on a different level. Such as Alice who is training for her first Ironman and Kieron who joined me on the first leg of my London to Nottingham ride and is also a fellow blogger. People like this remind me of why I am doing it and what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

What has been your highlight and lowlight so far?

Highlight has definitely been completing my first two big rides in just a 10 day period, on top of work. I cycled about 900km in total over the past 10 days and my final ride I was stronger, more confident and didn't ache as much - a sign my body is adjusting! 

Lowlight has been day 2 and 3 of my first big ride from London to Loughborough and getting two punctures. That paired with bad weather, meant that I had to cycle through the night to get to my destinations, as I lost daylight trying to fix my punctures. As well as this, I had never fixed a puncture before so had to learn very quickly (and am still a bit rubbish at it)!

What have you learnt from your experience so far?

How much my body and mind can actually handle. After my first big ride, I was really broken and couldn't see how I could do another big ride so soon after. But as the weather got better and I become fitter, I started to enjoy it more and have been really chuffed with how I have adjusted in a short period of time, this will definitely keep me motivated for the months ahead. 

It's also taught me to do what you love and love what you do. If you're lucky to love what you do work-wise then you're halfway their, but how many of us use our spare time towards doing what you love? If you put your mind to it, you can achieve a lot in your spare time and work towards your own life goals. 

You spend a lot of time on your bike, what bike do you have and how much maintenance do have to do on your bike to keep it going?

It's a second hand focus bike my husband bought me for Christmas. It's the best bike I've had by far and really lightweight which helps for the long rides. I haven't had to do a huge amount. I make sure I pump up the tyres at least once a week and oil the chain every few weeks and put disc break lubricant on my breaks. Other than a clear from time to time and a quick check of my breaks at a bike shop before any big ride, that's pretty much it. 

What are your best pieces of equipment to use for running and cycling?

I like planning my big rides with an app called Ride with GPS. You can then download the maps to use them offline. I recently got a Garmin Edge too which is pretty neat and also syncs with Strava which is ace. And Strava is just the best, ever, I love it but wish my phone battery would last for my long rides! 

What advice would you give someone considering to cycle around London, but slightly nervous?

Hire a bike, so at least you don't have to invest in buying a bike and all the gear if you don't like it - try before you buy! Only go on the Cycle Superhighway Lanes first to test it out. Some are really wide, follow the river for quite a while and you don't even need to go near the traffic. You'll feel more confident riding with other cyclists too, like being in a pack! And if you're not feeling too confident, just stop, get off and walk for a bit. For a few quid you've got nothing to lose.

You can check out Mieke's Powered By Me adventures on her blog or  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Can you take up the challenge for one week only by ditching the smelly tube or busy bus for foot or cycle?

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