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Prudential RideLondon has turned my life around

Esme Cole believes it’s no exaggeration to say the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 has turned her life around.

Prior to her first ever 100 which she rode last year, Esme had put on three stone in weight following back surgery.

Fast forward two months to the 100 Ride Day last July and Esme had shed two of those stone and become a self-confessed cycling addict.

The 25-year-old, who lives close to the route of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey route in Kingston-upon-Thames, had the time of her life completing the 100 miles and has not looked back since.

She has continued to cycle and was delighted to once again secure a place in the 2017 event during which time she has lost another stone and feels like her old self again.

“I spend so much time out on the bike now,” Esme said. “I've made friends, met so many different people, I'm more alert at work and I sleep so much better. I don't get out of breath walking up the stairs, my skin is better, my mental health is a lot healthier, I'm a million times happier than I was this time last year...I could go on and on.

“All of this is simply down to training for Prudential RideLondon. I have caught the cycling bug.”

Esme’s enjoyment of the ride has given her the confidence to enter more events. Her goal this year is to take part in four 100 mile sportives.

This year she will have some close company on the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 with her brother Jack, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Ride Day, and boyfriend Jason, cycling with her.

Esme said: “My brother actually bought himself a bike right after I took part in the event last year. A bit of healthy sibling rivalry I think. He's got a place in the event this year too! I'm so proud of him. He is getting out on the bike loads and really enjoying it. He's becoming healthier and we've got a hobby that we both enjoy.”

Living in Kingston upon Thames is very familiar with the RideLondon route and often trains on the same route as the 100, including her favourite spot, Richmond Park.

Esme said: “Richmond Park is definitely my favourite place in London. Riding there has seen my confidence grow on the bike immensely. It’s where I learnt to ride on the road and it’s the first place I cycled to when I found out I had a place in Ride London 2016! It feels like a really safe environment for cyclists and I love that it is so accessible and suitable for all abilities. It’s a great place to meet other cyclists too.”

Echoing Prudential RideLondon’s Love Where you Ride campaign, Esme added: “The park itself is incredibly beautiful and contains an array of amazing wildlife; you sometimes forget you are in London! The Royal Parks work really hard to maintain the area and it’s essential that cyclists contribute to keeping the environment clean and litter free too. It’s really easy to take empty packets and flat inner tubes home with you or to dispose of them properly after a ride.”

Esme, Jack and Jason will be raising money for the British Heart Foundation during this year’s RideLondon and she can’t wait to experience the atmosphere out on route once again.

Esme said: “I’m really looking forward to Sunday now! I think all three of us (me, my brother Jack and my boyfriend Jason) are all ready for the challenge.

“Everyone was so friendly last year and it did feel like a festival of cycling appreciation. I'm looking forward to the crowds too. The moment that sticks with me the most is turning the corner at the bottom of the hill that leads up to Wimbledon village and just being faced with a wall of sound.”