Mark is getting ready…

… for his London to Surrey 100 mile sponsored bike ride in August by cycling around Sicily with some of his chums …

A combination of exercise, good food, adequate sleep and belonging to an interconnected social community is one of the best ways to live a long, healthy, fulfilling life.

To grow, in physical, mental and emotional terms, we need to be stretched. Setting ambitious and realistically obtainable goals and having a good plan of action to achieve them, as well as the commitment and determination to carry them out, is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ways to live. But remember, practice is the mother of skill!

Mark bike ride sicilyOn reflection it has to be acknowledged that cycling, with all one’s gear 70-100 kilometres a day in the hilly, mountainous terrain of southern Sicily was quiet a stretch. It involved riding up hills for miles, amounting to 4,000 to 8,000 feet each day.

However, Sicily is such a lovely place. Apart from the beautiful rural scenery, many of the towns and villages creeping up the hillsides have their own character and personality. After many of them were partially or completely destroyed by earthquakes in the 17th century, they were all rebuilt. The beautiful architecture and detailed sophistication and artistry incorporated in some of the squares, fountains, palaces, churches and cathedrals is a wonder to behold.

A rich vein of the history of civilisation is all there to be found and explored. Ranging from walking round the ancient monuments in the valley of the temples of Agrigentoi, being stunned by stories depicted in such detail by the perfectly preserved mosaics in the Villa Romana Del Casale in Piazza Amerina, exploring ancient cave dwellings or the catacombs in Siracusa, one cannot fail to be impressed by the rich diversity of culture that still flourishes on this fascinating island.

Although cycling up all the hills sometimes for miles was often quite physically demanding, the effort was nearly always well rewarded. There were cafes and restaurants serving the most delicious locally produced food, ice cream and cool, fresh fruit drinks which went down a treat. Not to mention the joy of giving one’s legs a rest while rolling down the hills, feeling the sun on one’s face and the rush of air cooling you down at the same time.

There were of course the odd difficulties that occurred with mechanical breakdowns of one kind or another or losing one’s way trying to make sense of the complicated and ever changing system of roads and names.

But any difficulties that we experienced usually turned out to be gifts in disguise. All the lads cooperated and helped each other out in a good natured, humorous way. The extraordinary generosity and kindness that local people extended to us on different occasions was also something that I will always remember.

Prudential Ride 2015I hope to be able to maintain the level of fitness that I achieved sufficiently to enable me to complete the London-Surrey 100 miles on the Sunday 2nd August. If all this effort enables me to achieve my goal of raising £4,000 in the form of sponsorship for the Sunflower Trust, more children will be enabled to achieve a great deal more of what they are capable of. This will make a whole difference to them for the rest of their lives. It will enable them to contribute and play a more productive part in society.

Sunflower Trust logoIs this not the key to what civilised living should really be about?

If you haven’t already sponsored me when visiting the clinic recently, please would you be so kind and contribute what you can to help more children be the best they can be. You can do this by either clicking the below link or copying and pasting it kidinto the browser:

www.justgiving.com/sunflower-trust1

 

 

I very much appreciate it.

Thank you.

Mark

*(Answering machine outside of opening hours and during lunch, breaks from 1pm till 3pm).