Cycling from Beijing to London: How Charlotte Roach got back on her bike after life changing injuries
Charlotte Roach was a budding international runner and triathlete on the verge becoming an Olympian. However, she suffered an earth-shattering accident which left her with 12 broken vertebrae, multiple broken ribs, and a broken collarbone.
That was not going to stop her though. Remarkably, Charlotte taught herself to breathe, walk and run again. Just over a year after the accident, she embarked on an unimaginable journey; cycling 10,000 miles from Beijing to London.
Charlotte began her journey in China and ventured to Singapore. From Changi Airport, she flew to Cairns where she cycled down the Sunshine State to Brisbane and then onto Sydney. From Australia, she flew to Turkey and continued her journey across Europe to London. Unsure whether she would be able to complete the ride, she was inspired by the air ambulance that rescued her and wanted to raise enough money to save another life.
How long did it take to complete the ride?
I cycled for 6 months; averaging 63 miles' per day.
What did you eat? Where did you sleep?
I tried to carry food with me, but soon realised this would be too demanding. I began to pick up food from local shops along the way and I would try to camp as much as possible.
What was your favourite destination on your route?
Laos. I felt like I was stepping back in time through the natural beauty of this open, untouched and underdeveloped Asian country.
What was the most difficult part of your route?
Upon arrival in Thailand, finding a location to camp was sometimes impossible. One night, I settled for a field that was home to some over-friendly bulls. They would approach and nudge my tent. It was a sleepless night to say the least.
Did you ever find it difficult to keep going?
Australia was gruelling. It was hot, tiresome and cycling a continuous stream of motorways became lonely. I began to question the purpose of the bike ride. However, I told myself I had a task to complete.
How did you motivate yourself to carry on?
In the Asian countries, I did not think about cycling. I was admiring the stunning scenery and dynamic cultures. However, in Australia, I had to force myself to remain focused on the task in hand and the end goal.
Did you cycle alone?
I was joined by some friendly faces and fellow triathletes along the way. I cycled with Tom Vickery, who rode from Xian, China, to Bangkok, Thailand, and James Gill who rode from Brisbane to Sydney in Australia.
Would you do it again?
A different challenge, with less mileage per day to experience more of each country.
What are you doing now?
After the ride, exercising became a chore. I got to a point where I didn’t want to do it anymore without having an end goal. I wanted to remain active but have fun at the same time; so I founded Rabble. We put a twist on school playground games and transform them into high intensity interval training that you can enjoy.
To find out more about Rabble, visit Charlotte’s website.
Charlotte concluded her journey in London; with her admirable determination and resilience, she raised £10,000 for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland air ambulance.
All images were supplied by Charlotte Roach.