Miriam Kletz from Cheshire Forest took part in the Liverpool NightRider Charity Cycle Ride.
Here is her story:-
Liverpool NightRider July 16th 2016
Liverpool NightRider is a mass cycling event organised with the specific aim of allowing charities to fundraise through sponsorship and donations to participants.
In the autumn of 2015 our then District Commissioner, Sara Isles, flagged up to me that Girlguiding had some charity places for this event and, as I had just completed a ride to raise funds for Cancer Research, she thought I might be interested in this one.
Of course, I couldn't resist the challenge, and signed up almost immediately, sending the link to my fellow leader, Tracey Lowe, who is also up for an alternative way of fundraising.
As chairman of Culcheth Trefoil Guild I was able to involve members in fundraising for the ride. The name of the event tells you what we did of course, but the challenge was to cycle 100km (about 60miles) around Liverpool and the Wirral starting at 11:00pm.
Cycling during daylight hours is satisfying, fun and there is plenty to see whilst pedalling along. Night riding is a question of staying safe on the roads whilst peering into the gloom, to spot direction signs, and occasionally glimpsing a "pretty sight" as you see reflections of light in the water, or the moon setting behind the buildings, coulpled with the lightening of the sky as dawn breaks. All of a sudden birdsong fills the air, and it is noticeable because for the preceding 4 hours there was very little sound, apart from the idle chatter of riders and the whirr of wheels.
Both Tracey and I have been in Guiding for many years and are passionate about our role in developing girls' and young women's potential. So it was, as they say, signed, sealed and (to be) delivered before the end of 2015.
Participating in any sporting event requires lots of self-motivation to ensure that training prior to the event is effective, resulting, for us, in an injury free ride on the night, coupled with the satisfaction of realising that all those hours were really worth it.
Both Tracey and I put in many hours of training before the event, although we never actually managed to co-ordinate ourselves to ride together before the event. It says something for the teamwork element of Guiding that it didn't matter, we picked up exaclty were we left off last October.
Justgiving pages were set up in November and slowly we crept towards our target of £600.
For some reason July 16th came round much more quickly than we had anticipated, and we arrived at the famous Royal Liver Building to prepare for our start time of 11pm.
The first 50km was around the Wirral, so we cycled through the Birkenhead tunnel to start with before continuing around the 'coast', admiring the reflections of light on the water, and congratulating ourselves at how fast we were bowling along. Our first "feed station" was after 25km, and feeling suitably refreshed we headed out into the night and the first unlit section of the route. Stars twinkled above, and a plethora of red, flashing rear bike lights meant we just had to look at the road ahead and follow those in front of us. Of course, seeing direction signs (not reflective or illuminated) at night is part of the challenge and we missed more than one, retracing our path to pick up the correct route on several occasions.
The last missed sign resulted in us taking an alternative route back to the tunnel but as well trained Guide leaders pathfinding is second nature to us and we didn't worry about the diversion, rewarded by the sight of a lone fox crossing the road in front of us - it was worth the extra mile. The midpoint feed station was back at the Liver Building, and we enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and a Danish pastry before heading out to view the sights of Liverpool at night. By this time the moon was huge, orange and very low in the sky as it set, providing us with a spectacular vista across the Mersey.
Of course, it was very busy in the city centre, even though it was 3.15am and there were lots of people around to cheer us on and applaud our efforts - that kept us going at a pace for at least 15 minutes. We followed the path along the waterfront before leaving the Mersey behind us. Pushing the pedals suddenly became a little harder as we encountered the hills which took us up and away from the river valley and its maritime history into the city of 2 cathedrals, historic railway stations, theatres, universities, Liverpool and Everton football clubs, Aintree Racecourse (home of the Grand National), prisons, hospitals, country parks and of course the most famous of Liverpool's sons The Beatles.
As we rode through some of the famous parks of Liverpool the mist lent an ethereal atmosphere to the ride as, by now, at several points, it was just the two of us and the quiet roads of suburbia.
We passed many famous landmarks on our ride and it was great fun to realise where we were each time, and appreciate the history of the City of Liverpool.
By the time we left our final feed station, at the magnificent Alder Hey Children's Hospital, dawn was breaking and we completed the ride in daylight, enjoying the ability to see all the direction signs without peering into the gloom to be able to see the vista beyond the kerb, and, most of all, to feel rejuvenated because we had made it through the night.
Our pace had slowed a little but we were still going and feeling confident that our average speed would be around 18kph, the norm for us.
On our return to the start point on the Pier Head we were greeted with more applause and smiling faces from the marshals, and received a medal for our efforts before enjoying a welcome hot drink and breakfast.
We had left the Pier Head at 11pm and returned on the stroke of 6am, a good time for both of us. Time in the saddle 5hrs 58 mins, an average speed of 18kph and I think each hour was worth around £135!
Thanks must go to all our supporters and my husband Roger who took us to Liverpool for the start and didn't mind being woken up at 6am to come and collect us.
Chairman Culcheth Trefoil Guild, Cheshire Forest, North West England.