In May 2018, Nina Rosner and Ed Dingli took on the mammoth task of cycling 1050 miles from the Southernmost tip of England (Land’s End) to the Northernmost tip of Scotland (John O’Groats). Having never taken on a challenge of this magnitude and having lived in Hackney for three years, the pair chose to raise funds through a JustGiving page for Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest. In just two months, Ed and Nina received donations from 60 supporters, raising £1,616.32 for Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest – 61% over their target of £1000.
We caught up with Ed to talk about why he and Nina chose to raise money for Mind CHWF and to quiz him for any tips he may have for cyclists that might want to do the same!
We had decided to do Lands’ End to John O’ Groats and initially, we were going to do it for the challenge alone but thought it would be a wasted opportunity if we didn’t try to fundraise! Both I and Nina wanted to choose a local charity and give back to the Hackney community where we live. So, I started looking at local charities focussed on homelessness and mental health when a friend and former colleague of Mind CHWF recommended that we chose to fundraise for the organisation. She told us about the programmes that Mind CHWF organises and explained that the money raised would go a lot further than if we were to choose a larger charity.
I had never done any serious cycling before taking on the Lands End to John O’ Groats. I started cycling to work a few years ago and always wanted to cycle around the UK. We did a couple of training rides leading up to the event, but nothing could have fully prepared us. I have also taken part in London to Brighton cycles twice with friends.
The first time I did it, we managed to avoid Ditchling Beacon and the second time we did it on purpose. It’s difficult but fun- you know it’s coming up and, once you’ve done it, it’s downhill into Brighton and it’s a beautiful route and a good distance. It took around five hours at a normal pace with a good mix of ups and downs with lots of downhill. Padded shorts were a real saviour on the ride!
What I’d say is that the prospect can be quite daunting if you’ve never done it before but it’s amazing what your body can achieve if you’ve got the right attitude. If you take it step by step, it’s so much fun, there was never a moment when I questioned what I was doing or why I was doing it. There was a great mix of chatting to other people and getting your head down and ploughing through the miles, so it can feel like a nice social event. If you put your mind to it, it’s amazing what your body can achieve with minimal training.