Abby Popplestone - Novice cyclist - Bikepacking the GB Divide solo & unsupported.


Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Abby in her own words:

“Growing up, the outdoors wasn't a place I spent much time, unless you count doing all nighters in the park guzzling Bacardi Breezers and shivering into my Jane Norman parka as a teenager.

It wasn't a place I felt I belonged. I hated exercise and actively avoided it at all costs, so much so, I'd hide in the showers to bunk PE lessons.

During lockdown, my dad gave me his 23 year old mountain bike and I set myself a challenge to cycle the distance from John O' Groats to Lands End around my hometown to keep myself from melting into the sofa.

I LOVED it! I felt strong and alive as I whooshed through the isolated streets. Is this what it felt like to enjoy exercise? Had I finally found 'my sport’? 300 miles in, I discovered an enormous Ovarian Tumour.

2 weeks later I was having surgery and my virtual cycle adventure was paused.

The tumour turned out to be a rare form of Ovarian Cancer. I was lucky, it hadn’t spread to other organs which meant surgery was all I needed, however, I discovered the dire stats surrounding Ovarian Cancer and feeling lucky to be alive, I wanted to do something to raise awareness and vital funds for the disease.

I decided to cycle John O' Groats to Lands End for real, but this time, I'd make it as fun and spicy as possible. I strapped my gear to the bike and headed for an off road route following GB Divide and Great North Trail. I’d be camping most nights and carrying everything I needed.

I didn’t train, I didn’t even cycle much before I left, I just had blind faith that if I pedalled one foot at a time I’d eventually get there.”

***

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Show notes

  • Who is Abby in her own words

  • Growing up in a non-sporty family

  • Her teenage years

  • Hating all sports but enjoy skiing

  • Started climbing in Northumberland

  • Climbing and hiking with her ex

  • Spending a month in Grampians National Park

  • Breaking up with her ex and going out on her own

  • Plans to go together to Hampi in India

  • Being uncomfortable going out by herself

  • Driving a camper van to the North Island and South Island for two months

  • Back to working in the events industry

  • Wanting to do more

  • Feeling uncomfortable being seen as a climber

  • Pushing through the fear

  • GB Divide - her first ever bike packing trip

  • Cycling as a kid

  • Deciding to cycle from John o'Groats to Land's End

  • Discovering a big tumour in her ovary

  • Not having any symptoms aside from bloating

  • Finding out about her cancer at the start of COVID

  • Being isolated alone before surgery

  • Fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Action

  • Why is she raising funds for Ovarian Cancer Action

  • Getting support from her mum after her surgery

  • When did she decide to give back

  • Being unable to engage in any activities for six weeks

  • Missing the bike ride around her area

  • Feeling lucky despite going through a traumatic period

  • More details about GB Divide and how she learned about this challenge

  • Taking on the challenge on her father's old mountain bike

  • Borrowing and purchasing necessary equipment

  • Planning the cycle challenge

  • Procrastinating and panicking about being unprepared

  • Getting fit as she goes

  • Driving with her friends from Edinburgh to John O'Groats

  • Getting nervous and figuring out things as she goes

  • Her first night of the challenge

  • Enjoying cycling and feeling proud

  • Staying in Scotland

  • Doing the Cairnwell Pass

  • Being able to do 580 miles on the trail

  • Learned lessons that she can apply to the second half of the challenge

  • Having knee pain

  • Having no knowledge about nutrition

  • Where did @adventure_logistics_queen come from

  • Final words of advice

 

Social Media

Instagram: @abby_popplestone

Just Giving: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abby-popplestone

 

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