When Jo McDonald decided to go on an adventure in 2019 she picked a big one.

Despite having hardly ever ridden a bike before, she was inspired by tales from our inaugural Ride India event last year and promptly signed up for the 450km cycling challenge herself. Determined to succeed, the 54-year-old former barrister has been in training ever since and has agreed to share her story and keep us posted on her progress in this blog…

PART ONE – Saddling up and starting out

“I’ve never been a cyclist so the kids think it’s very amusing that I’ve signed up. I’m quite fit, and used to do a bit of running, but I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been on a bike so agreeing to do Ride India was a bit of a mad moment. I’d heard so many stories from my friend who did the last one and it just sounded amazing so I went for it. Luckily my husband is quite a cyclist so he’s been happy to help me get into training and to be honest I think I’ve come quite far already!

People say it’s flat in Cheshire but that hasn’t been my experience!


Six weeks ago, when I first started, 12 miles seemed like an awfully long way and very hard work. Yesterday we did 25 miles and only stopped because it was pouring down. The longest we’ve done so far was 43 miles when we went to Bangor on Dee, but actually that hasn’t been the hardest ride.

That was two days later when we only did 15 miles but apparently that’s because of the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles – that one was by far the hardest but that’s how you know you’re getting fitter or so I’m told.

It’s not about how far you go each time, but how your body adapts to it – the way you improve is not the way you think you’re going to improve and that’s been really interesting to me. My body is definitely changing – and I’m hungry all the time. Even my taste buds are changing – I’m not craving sugar, I just want carbs – I just want to feel full!

In six weeks I've really toned up and nearly dropped a dress size.


I am really enjoying the cycling though – it’s brilliant. The first ten minutes are always horrible and you just have to cycle through it. After that you’re flying through the countryside and it’s great. I do end up day dreaming a bit though – I nearly got toppled by a lorry the other day as I’d gone into a bit of a daze! I have been shocked at how aggressive some drivers can be towards us: beeping unnecessarily, not giving enough room, overtaking on bends, so doing all this training is also making me more aware of cyclists as a driver.


Read part two of Jo's blog here