Charlie's Top 5 Reasons for joining the RideLondon team for a second time | ActionAid UK

This week we hear from ActionAid's Charlie Keep who took part in last year's RideLondon-Surrey 100 bike ride. He tells us why you should get involved in 2014.

Charlie Keep proudly sporting his medal after cycling 100 miles for ActionAid in the 2013 RideLondon bike race
Charlie Keep proudly sporting his medal after cycling 100 miles for ActionAid in the 2013 RideLondon bike race

Taking part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100-mile bike ride can sound like a daunting task for cyclists of any ability. I did it last year and I'm here to tell you that it is much easier than you would think and on top of that highly enjoyable!

I enjoyed it so much that this year I am right back in the saddle and gearing up for the 10 August 2014 when I will be embracing the 100-mile challenge for a second time. Here's why I'm in the RideLondon ActionAid team for the second year running.

1. It’s a decent challenge but it's not that hard to get round

100 miles sounds like a lot but most of the route is very flat, and the second half has the prevailing wind behind you, which is psychologically much easier (unless there’s a north-easterly wind that day of course). There are a couple of proper hills but they come right in the middle of the route when you are well warmed up but not too tired.

I’ve done events that are considerably shorter but much harder. Cycling events are often designed to be as brutal as possible with massive hills right at the end but RideLondon isn’t like this. They just seem to have decided not to be too mean with the route. Also the closed roads make a big difference because you don’t have to stop and start as much as you would normally do riding this distance.

2. You get a medal

Not just a crappy badge - it's an actual big, heavy one hung around your neck. That doesn’t happen too often in my life and I liked it.

3. Finishing on the Mall with a cheering crowd is really cool

In a juvenile manner I rode up behind someone else on the finish and then darted round them and crossed the line with my arms in the air, pretending I was Mark Cavendish. That was fun.

4. You’ll never get another chance to ride around central London at high speed with the roads closed

Parliament Square and Whitehall are probably the best bits for this but the whole route back in from Putney is amazing.

5. The ActionAid fundraising team treat you like a proper hero.

The ActionAid team are lovely and always on hand to help you with training or fundraising support. The goody bag stacks up well against competitors!