Belinda is an employee at the National Stroke Foundation. As a member of the team she provides post stroke education and information, after she herself survived a stroke four years ago.
Having had a stroke myself 4 years ago and since working for the National Stroke Foundation for the past year, I considered taking part in Memorable Challenge Cycle India trip in November 2009 a great way to raise some much needed funds for the NSF, as well as being a great way to see India.
After convincing two of my closest girl friends to come with me to join the adventure, we quickly set about undertaking fundraising tasks to reach the target $19,500, and I must admit it whilst it was hugely rewarding, it was harder than I had anticipated. With the support of our family and friends and a number of extremely creative fundraising initiatives, we have reached $17,000.
After putting in all the hard work organising events and raffles etc, it was a fabulous reward to know we were off to India. Little did we know, there was more hard slog ahead!
The actual cycling was challenging, it really isn’t called a memorable challenge for nothing!
While we had been out training around Melbourne for months, nothing could have prepared us for the Indian cycles. The bikes had no gears or suspension and the condition of the roads in comparison to Australian city roads was very different
We were originally told the roads were “mainly flat,” perhaps we should have known better! However the hard terrain and however agonizing the biking, it was very rewarding when we eventually crossed the finish line and had completed the entire route, every painful kilometre.
It was especially rewarding for me and I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I can now say I can do anything I wish, even after my stroke!
India is a truly amazing place and because we were part of the World Expeditions Cycle trip, we had the opportunity to see so many different parts of the country.
Throughout the trip, the crew really looked after us and made sure we were safe and happy – even teaching us a bit of Hindi along the way.
A highlight of the trip definitely includes the Taj Mahal; it is a truly magical sight during sunrise.
All the sites of India are breathtaking, but I would have to say that the true highlight of this trip was the people of India. We were constantly spurred on in our cycling by locals, especially the children, who were always running to greet us as we rode by yelling “ta ta” or “bye bye’ or “good morning” with big smiles on their faces, this is a sight I will never forget.