By Megan Smiley, Jun 5 2015 09:04AM
Last Saturday night I didn’t get to bed till 5am. This is pretty much unheard of for me these days, I’m normally getting up around that time and if I'm out in public past about midnight I normally fall asleep!
However, I wasn't out socialising but being a Ride Angel for Women V Cancer Ride the Night. In it's second year, the ride saw around 1,800 women cycle 100km from Windsor into London and back again for three charities: Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.
It was an amazing night. Of all the organised rides I've done, I’m always in the minority being a woman, so it was brilliant to be the majority, in fact men weren't allowed to do it! Also, to see so many women on their bikes, more than I’ve ever seen, was incredible.
Setting off at around 9pm it was still light, so the impressiveness of the fancy dress that pretty much everyone had, didn't show it's true colours at that point, but as the night went on and got darker, the fairy wings with lights, the tutus with lights, the helmets with lit up mohicans, and all the other wonderfully creative outfits, became quite a spectacle, receiving well deserved cheers, encouragement and some slightly drunken attention whilst cycling through Richmond at midnight. At a glance people might have thought it was a massive cycling hen do!
As a Ride Angel I was there to support riders, checking people were ok if they had pulled over, helping with any minor mechanical issues or calling for the 'official' support if needed, as well as keeping up morale. However, I was hardly needed, partly because there were few punctures (perhaps due to most not being on road bikes with thin, easily punctured tyres), but mainly on the morale front. Even with the rain starting at 1am on Sunday morning spirits were high, and motivation and determination levels were ever higher, as many people were cycling in memory of a lost loved one.
Finishing at just before 4am pretty drenched and a little sleep deprived, I couldn't help feeling a warm glow inside. This was a truly unique event, that has so far raised £768,000 for the three charities, and they are aiming to reach one million. What really makes this ride unique though, is all those women on their bikes in their fancy dress laughing and chatting and doing something amazing for a cause dear to them, and I felt privileged to cycle alongside them.