Anyway, I should probably explain myself, I’m Gaia, I’m 11, I love cycling and raising money for charities that have helped my friends and family.
I have now done two charity cycle rides and I’m always looking for a new challenge. I decided on the Caledonia Way as it certainly would be a challenge, I mean, from 182 miles (when I did the Hebridean Way in 2018) to 237 miles, that certainly is a challenge.
I wanted to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland. My grandad died with Alzheimer’s so I wanted to support the charity that helped him. I set up a page on Just Giving and people would leave messages with their sponsorship. Thinking about those messages kept me going and really helped motivate me when I was finding it hard.
Seeing Scotland differently
It was a different way of seeing Scotland, from a different angle. Because we didn’t scare animals away and you take a longer route, as you’re not always on the road, you see things you wouldn’t see in a car. We rode through lots of different types of scenery along the coast, lakes and forests, it was all really beautiful. My highs consisted of sweeping into Caradale, 1¾ miles to Lochgilphead, woohoo, and the seals sitting on the rocks at Loch Caolisport.
I really enjoyed it but it was hard work. Riding in the rain was absolutely horrible. Getting up was sometimes a struggle, there were a few times when dad had to literally take the tent down around me because I was so tired. Also, the hills were tough because my bike is a road bike it doesn’t really have the low gears so sometimes I had to get off and walk when it was too steep, but I don’t mind that.
Being on my bike exhilarates me
Being outdoors and on my bike exhilarates me and I always get a good night’s sleep. I don’t think it matters whether you are a child or an adult, sometimes I think I was the one encouraging dad that he could do it. When I ride my bike I may not have as much experience as my parents but I’m learning to be safe on road.
I felt very proud when we finished, and it was really exciting to think I had travelled all that way. Though I had to take a break from my bike for a wee while afterwards because it takes a lot out of you doing a ride of that length.
I definitely want to do another big cycle ride, I’ve done it before and I want to do it again, we just need to find another route for next year.