Rafe’s Summer Challenge

The idea

I want to encourage people to push themselves that little bit further, to try something new and to get a little bit out of their comfort zone to discover they’re more capable than they think and to open their eyes to a whole new world of cycling potential.

The challenge

  1. Think of the maximum distance you feel comfortable cycling unsupported. It doesn’t matter if this is 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 miles/km.
  2. Go to this website
  3. Enter your home postcode in the “Find a place” box and hit “Find”
  4. Enter the number from step 1 into the “Distance from centre” box and hit “Show circle/s”.
  5. Be amazed at how far that covers.
  6. Move/zoom the map around to find a place near the edge of the circle that resonates with you. Could be because the train goes there, you’ve a friend there, it’s a nice place, whatever.
  7. Get to the place in step 6 via train or a lift.
  8. Cycle home unsupported.
  9. Realise a) you’ve probably just cycled 25% further than what you identified in step 1 (because roads don’t go in straight lines), b) you’ve got home under your own steam, c) you’re awesome and can do anything you set your mind to.
  10. Be proud.


So many good reasons for doing this challenge:

  1. Home is a nice destination and you’ll be motivated to get there.
  2. You have to do the distance as you’re already on the shortest route home.
  3. At least half of your ride will be in a place you don’t normally ride in (assuming you normally start/end at home).
  4. People will be shocked/impressed when you tell them you cycled from x back home.
  5. It’ll open up your eyes to a whole different side to cycling and your abilities.
  6. Because the distance chosen was the maximum you’re comfortable with, the challenge is as difficult for you as it is anyone else – we’re all equal!

I first did this as a very inexperienced cyclist. My wife and I were going to a wedding that was around my max-cycling-distance from home (as the crow flies) and staying the night. I put my bike in the car and drove us there. The next morning my wife drove the car back whilst I cycled. We met half-way for lunch at a pretty little town – my wife had obviously got there before me but had a nice mooch round whilst I was pedalling. After lunch, I got back on the bike and she got back in the car.

The Rules

There aren’t really any rules, but to be clear:

  1. You’re allowed to pre-plan your route/stops (in fact I’d encourage it, getting lost & adding unnecessary miles/hills is no fun).
  2. You can do it solo or as part of a group. 
  3. In endurance cycling, unsupported means no backup/support car following you or meeting you at pre-arranged places, you must carry everything with you or purchase it on route from shops/cafes that are available to everyone. However, if it means you do it rather than not do it, then feel free to break this rule! NB: Yes I realise the above anecdote seems to contravene this rule, but I took nothing from the car/wife.

11 Responses to Rafe’s Summer Challenge

  1. Mary Contrary aka Nicky says:

    Thanks for doing this. Karma

  2. Loretta Jane Pritchard says:

    This looks like an adventure! Lol

  3. David Bedford says:

    Count me in. Sounds like a great idea.

  4. MJ says:

    Tis a grand Idea. Ill have to choose somewhere in the UK though, cos the IoM is only 15 x 35 miles, and I do need a tad further than that.

  5. Andrea says:

    I’ve picked my location….now got to plan the route….and talk my other half into doing it with me

  6. Sara Marshall says:

    Ooooh it was worth the wait ????
    I look forward to taking this on.



  7. Emma Colman and Treacle says:

    Treacle says she likes new smells!!

  8. Helen Thomas says:

    Looks like a fab idea and do-able too

  9. Nick Walton says:

    I love the idea of this. The reason I took up cycling again was to support a cancer charity, as my father is currently in end of life care – and I want to give something back. Very close to the edge of the circle I selected is the hospital Dad’s in. So it would be very fitting to start the ride from the hospital car park

  10. Caroline Ann says:

    Time to get planning, fab idea!

  11. Andrew Ronald says:

    Going to give this a go

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