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Recently, I cycled the coast to coast from St Bees to Tynemouth with 35 other students from my school. It was a bigger challenge than last year’s ride because we had to carry all our own gear and food in panniers. This seemed a little daunting if I’m honest, because I hadn’t done any cycling in the hills since the year before. I’d had doubts about completing the challenge but I knew that it was the right thing to do to push myself and do something to help the school.

On our first day we arrived at St Bees School where we were camping. It was a good opportunity to practice pitching the tents and setting up the stoves for our meals. After eating we cycled down to the sea to properly start the ride, where one of my friends picked up a rock to bring all the way to Tynemouth.

The beautiful sunset made us realise it was much better to be here than at school

Our first day of cycling was the longest at 48 miles with a lot of climbing but we knew that, once it was over, the rest wouldn’t be as bad. Saying that, it wasn’t really bad at all. Everyone worked well together and there were no problems unlike last year where there were two crashes on the first day. The campsite in Troutbeck was lovely and we saw a really beautiful sunset which made us realise even through the rain it was much better to be here than at school.

Day two was a really enjoyable ride. The weather was perfect and we stopped at some really nice cafes with these weird looking chickens everyone was obsessing with. I broke a spoke due to the weight on my bike so we got that fixed in Penrith where I also dropped in on my auntie at her bookshop to say hi. We decided to splash out in Booths and bought pizza to cook in a sixth former’s mobile pizza oven.

Hartside Pass was the longest hill of the trip which we went over on the third day of riding. It was four miles to the summit and was a long drag but luckily at the top there was an amazing café where everyone spent a load of their money on enormous cakes and various lunches with chips. It was actually brilliant. Overall the day was good, the campsite near Alston was gorgeous with perfect weather yet again.

I was left with a nosebleed from an accidental headbutt!

On the fourth day we had a lot of hills to go over but by this point our bums were kind of numb to the pain so we got on with them all without complaining. I think this was the day when a bee flew down my cycling top and I had to try and get it out without stopping the whole group. We were staying on a very flat rugby field so naturally people started playing rugby and football. This proved to be a bad idea as I was left with a nosebleed from an accidental headbutt.

On Friday morning we knew we’d pretty much finished the whole route, it was all downhill and we got to the end around noon. It was such a nice feeling finishing the whole thing and we all felt so proud. I am so glad I took part in the coast to coast because it was a real challenge and I feel like I have improved in my cycling and also self-confidence. Now I know I can achieve something if I put my mind to it, even if I haven’t put in the hill-training beforehand.


Cherry was riding with other Year 9, 10 and 11 riders from North Halifax Grammar School to raise funds for the cardio suite at the school’s newly opened sports centre. The group have just bust through the £10,000 target and donations can be made on their Virgin Money Giving Page.