Jon Smith: Big Bike Challenge

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As we prepare for this years biggest edition of the Big Bike Challenge, supported by Wessex Regional Care, we caught up with Jon Smith, who’s transition from project participant to thriving fundraiser has been a sight to behold.

How is your training for the Big Bike Challenge going?

It’s going well.  I hadn’t been on a bike for years until earlier this year and so therefore I’ve built up my mileage gradually.  I now feel comfortable on the bike and must have cycled just about every road The New Forest has to offer. I’ve been on the organised Foundation rides with British Cycling and I’ve also been out for a couple of rides with some colleagues on the Big Bike Challenge.  Last week, David Cotton, Paul Pinchbeck and myself rode over to the Isle of Wight via Portsmouth.  Both Paul and David are veterans of the Big Bike Challenge and therefore wore their Saints kit with Pride in Pompey!

What made you want to take part in the challenge and support Saints Foundation?

I was always aware of the Foundation, however SFIT made me look deeper at what it does.  What moved me was seeing videos of people who you can tell really believe in what they’re doing, changing the lives of people who may not have had the best start in life or have experienced bad life choices. The club is full of heroes like that.

Although they wear the Saints badge, the Foundation is a charity and they have to fund themselves through initiatives such as the Big Bike Challenge, so I thought this was a small price to pay for my participation in the SFIT course. If I’ve helped changed the lives of people in the community, albeit indirectly through fundraising, then that’s more people fulfilling their potential. Everybody deserves to feel good about themselves.

How have your experiences of coming through our Saints Fans In Training programme motivated you?

It’s reset my attitude to my diet and fitness. I’ve lost so much weight, and now I’m as fit at 48 as I was when I left the Royal Air Force at 30.  I enjoy being a lot healthier, and doing the Big Bike Challenge is the next step of that.

Is this a one off event for you, or do you plan on doing further fundraising for Saints Foundation?

Once they have changed your life, you’ll always be a friend of Saints Foundation, so it definitely won’t be a one off.

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