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Wheelie Good Fun: My 1882 Challenge

Dave Lovell,

It was, all things considered, a pleasant summer evening.

The light was soft, the roads were empty and a temperate breeze moved the cooling air. But all of this was lost on me. Sixteen hours of cycling had compromised my capacity for higher thought, and my sole reflection on the idyllic climate was the steady realisation that we were losing the light. After 190 miles, we (my friend Jonny and I, pictured below) were still 10 miles from York Minster, from dinner and from bed. We had decided, perhaps foolishly, to cycle from sunrise to sunset on one of the longest days of the year. We knew beforehand that it would be a grueling ordeal, but now even that estimate seemed naïve. We were dehydrated, sun swept and generally depleted. Why would anyone volunteer for such a thing? Easy. We did it because, believe it or not, because we enjoyed it, and we did it because we wanted to raise money for Church Army as part of the 1882 Challenge.

Jonny and I during a well-earned break.

Money for Nothing?

Money laundering? Forget it. Confidence tricking? Yesterday’s news. The most lucrative racket of all time is to get money for doing what you love. I love cycling with my friends and I got hundreds of pounds for doing just that for over a dozen hours. Whatever it is for you, you too can get money for doing it with Church Army’s 1882 challenge. Some of you readers may be thinking “Ah yes but you can’t keep any of this money, can you? You’ve got to give it all away to Church Army.” To you I say that it is better to give than to receive, so it’s win-win.

All you have to do is follow my simple four-step plan:

  • Think of something you’d like to do. Perhaps you’d like to stay indoors all day and eat Mexican food
  • Find some way of making it tenuously related to the numbers 18 or 82, like eating nothing but burritos for 18 hours
  • Set up a JustGiving page, and ask your friends to sponsor you (both in person and on social media). When you describe the task, be sure to emphasise the complexity, scale and difficulty. Say things like: “Gosh, I’m really not sure if I’ll last all eighteen hours. I mean I don’t mind Mexican food, but nothing but burritos?”
  • Do whatever it is that you’ve committed yourself to. Eat the burritos, spend all day on the bike.

I promise you that if you follow these steps, your friends and loved ones will praise and reward you for behaviours that they might otherwise decry as problematically self-indulgent. You can even delegate your existing responsibilities to other people who will be happy to assist you in your selfless campaign.

But Seriously…

Hopefully you’ve discerned by now that this article slightly tongue-in-check. But it isn’t entirely untrue! My fundraising experience has taught me that my friends, family, and colleagues are very generous, and are very happy to help me raise money for something I believe in. I’ve also learned that fundraising doesn’t have to be grueling – you can do something small, or something you really enjoy. Lots of people are looking for an excuse to give. Why not be that excuse and take part in Church Army’s 1882 Challenge this September?

Click here to choose your own challenge.

P.s – here’s our route and you can find our ride on Strava here.

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