We interviewed Richard Lowe, our Guest Services Co-ordinator at Kingswood Staffordshire, to find out about his recent London to Brighton cycling challenge in aid of our charity partners, YoungMinds. Here’s what he had to say…

Why did you want to do this bike ride?
I have been cycling ever since I can remember and for the past three years I have taken part in a 24hr Mountain Bike endurance race. From doing this, I invested in a road bike to train and commute to work. I enjoy cycling and as soon as I saw the opportunity to cycle for a good cause I couldn’t resist. I also managed to raise £150 for such an important charity, so really pleased with that.

Are you familiar with YoungMinds work?
As YoungMinds is our registered charity, at Staffordshire we are committed to helping raise funds. Last August I was involved in the charity open day we ran with proceeds going to both YoungMinds and Hopehouse. I think the work they do with young people and their families is amazing and I am really keen to support them.

If so, was there a particular reason you wanted to cycle for YoungMinds?
Working closely with children and being an ex-activity instructor I felt very privileged to use my time and enjoyment of cycling as a way of giving something back to YoungMinds.

What are your top tips for improving fitness?
This sounds very cliché, however a balanced diet and regular exercise improves your fitness levels. My top tip is not to over exert yourself to become healthier and stronger. Exercise, then take a break to recover. Too much too soon doesn’t help. I mainly replaced sugary snacks for energy after exercise with fruit smoothies and fresh fruit, which meant I never really felt out of energy when doing the ride.

What training would you recommend someone does in order to take on this challenge?
I would advise anyone to make cycling part of their normal routine. I trained by using the 25.2mile round trip to work. I started by doing this three times a week and increased it over time. If you can get out and add a couple of longer rides in over your days off, followed by a rest day, this can improve your resilience dramatically.

Do you have any future plans for completing more challenges?
Through taking part in this challenge I have discovered that ‘Doitforcharity’ also run a London to Paris cycling event. I would love to take on this challenge, however I feel I would need to increase my training schedule before taking this on.

Find out more about our partnership with YoungMinds here