Audax Challenge for Launchpad

Back in 1982 I was living in Canada. No email or social media, so I used to get those flimsy blue airmail letters from my parents. In one of these my Dad told me that he’d celebrated his 70th year by going for a 70 mile bike ride. He seemed quite please, and I was very impressed, even though I knew he’d been a keen amateur cyclist in his younger days.

Dad in 1947

Fast-forward 40 years and it’s now my turn. Although I’ve never been a competitive cyclist I do enjoy it (when it’s not raining!) and think it’s a great way to keep fit and healthy. So when I saw an advert for an Audax fundraising challenge ride for Launchpad Reading , I thought this is something I should do.

Launchpad is Reading’s homeless charity. Originally founded in the 1970s by students as a soup kitchen, it’s now evolved to provide a comprehensive service of advice and support for homeless people. None of this comes cheap, of course…

I worked in Reading for over 20 years and often saw homeless people huddling in doorways and begging for cash. The wise advice was never to give cash as it would likely go on drugs, but to help them via a suitable charity, which is where Launchpad comes in.

Audax is not a term familiar to many non-cyclists, but it’s been around for over 100 years. It’s a non-competitive form of cycling in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. I’ve done Audax rides in the past, but not usually more than 100 km, which is the distance I’ve signed up for on this challenge ride. The last one I did was five years ago, so some serious training is called for.

The challenge route is Caversham to Farmoor (near Oxford) and back, which is advertised as 110 km, and will probably turn out to be about 70 miles in practice. Less than 8 weeks to go and the furthest I’ve ridden so far this year is 28 miles.

To donate to Launchpad Reading, go to my JustGiving page.

For details on the ride itself (or even to register and come along as well), go to

To follow my training progress, click here to get updates via Email.

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