I'm looking forward to cycling this... mmm...
One of the most pleasing aspects of my job is that I get to oversee our community programme. Every year, hundreds of people across the company raise money by shaving their heads, walking over mountains, or whatever challenge captures their imagination. Others volunteer their time, sharing their expertise or simply getting involved with some hard graft when a good cause needs it.
And every year, I don't set the best of examples... too much on; too many pressures - too comfortable more like!
So as I approach my fiftieth birthday I've decided to do something about it. This June I'll be joining some of my colleagues and riding a bike from our most western depot in Aberystwyth, to our most eastern, which is called Bertrams in Norwich. So from A to B... then on to the coast, just for the heck of it.
That's about 360 miles and I know it's going to hurt - a lot. But actually, it'll be great fun too and already I'm enjoying the training. Last week as I rode through the lanes I glimpsed a Bullfinch calling from the hedgerow, its great puffed breast a sure sign of spring.
And I thought, how lucky am I? I've riden bikes since I was six and always loved them. From my first wobbles down Holystone Avenue, to cycle touring as a lad, to crossing the Pyrenees on a tandem and the Alps with my son - whose effortless climbing brought me to tears. Bikes are so simple, yet they've given me more freedom and joy than any other piece of technology I can think of.
But not everyone is so lucky.
And that's why I'm riding for Whizz-Kidz. It's a charity we've been involved with for some years and they do a fantastic job helping disabled kids to have some of the mobility and independence that I've taken for granted. Their website sums it up well:
Whizz-Kidz provides disabled children with the wheelchairs and other mobility equipment they need to lead fun and active childhoods. But that's just the start. All around the country disabled children are meeting and making friends at a growing network of Whizz-Kidz clubs. They’re having fun around obstacle courses, knocking over skittles, doing wheelies and learning about boring but important things like road safety. They’re also forming campaign groups and meeting MPs, contacting the press, and designing campaign badges and posters. And because growing up can be a bit scary, they’re taking part in work placement programmes and life skills events.
In riding from A to B I'm hoping to raise at least £2000 from personal donations, and as a group we're targeting up to £50,000 by the time we've called in a few favours with suppliers and supporters at work. But every encouragement counts, and all the more so if it comes from friends and supporters.
If you'd like to leave a message of support that would be great, or to sponsor me click my just-giving page. But most of all, think of me the next time you get in the car to drive anything approaching 360 miles - it's a long way by bike.