Interview with Caroline

Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Caroline Bates and I am Fundraising Manager for the Colchester Hospitals Charity. I am based at Colchester General Hospital and my job is to support people who want to raise funds to support the hospital, organise fundraising activities, raise awareness of the charity and run appeals for special projects. The charity is made up of charitable funds for over 80 different wards, departments and projects.

What is your opinion on cycling?

I love cycling! It’s a great way of getting around and is so adaptable that anyone can do it at a level to suit them. I enjoy cycling out in the countryside – you can see so much more from a bike than you can in a car. And you meet lovely people along the way.

Are you a cyclist yourself and why do you cycle?

I started cycling about 3 years ago when I said I’d do a fundraising bike ride from London to Paris and didn’t even own a bike. My friend, Lavinia, who is one of those inspiring people who get you doing things you didn’t think you were capable of, got me started. She lent me her bike for a few days to try it out before I splashed out and bought my own. She then organised all my training so that I was fit enough to cycle 300 miles over 4 days. I was amazed the first time I managed to cycle 10 miles but we were soon cycling 40 – 50 miles every weekend. London to Paris was a fantastic experience which I would recommend to anyone. It got me hooked on cycling and when I moved to Colchester about 2 years ago I started cycling to work everyday until it started to get dark in the evenings. I don’t mind cycling when it’s cold or wet but I’m not very keen on cycling at night.

The main reason I cycle now is to get to work. It’s often quicker than driving and it’s much cheaper than the car. I probably only cycle 2-3 times a week because I often have to go to meetings or I have an event to go to and have to take loads of stuff with me.

Can you talk about the Essex Castles Bike Ride in July and describe your involvement with it?

The Essex Castle Bike Ride has been going for about 10 years; there are three linked routes of 25, 50 or 75 miles. It is organised by a company called Bike Events who are also responsible for the Tour de Tendring. This year Colchester Hospitals Charity is Bike Events charity partner and we are using it as an opportunity to raise funds for the new Radiotherapy Centre being built at Colchester General Hospital. The money raised will be used to make a better environment for patients, so that the atmosphere is more therapeutic and they will feel more relaxed when they come for their treatment. Extra funds will enable us to provide better and more comfortable furniture, specialist equipment and additional staff training over and above the NHS budget.

Why would recommend taking part in this charity ride?

Essex Castle Bike Ride starts and finishes in Colchester, you can set off at any time between 8am and 10am, you will cycle through some beautiful countryside and there will be bike mechanics out on the route so if you have a problem help is to hand. The route will be clearly marked with plenty of places to stop for drinks and snacks. But the main reason to take part is that the atmosphere will be great, there will be lots of other people taking part; for some it will be the first time they’ve done a 25 mile cycle ride, others will be taking part to challenge themselves a bit further and to raise funds to support people who are being treated for cancer. Whatever the reason you start the ride and whichever distance you choose the sense of achievement when you complete it will be enormous.

So if someone would like to take part, how would they go about doing that?

The simplest way of registering to take part is online at

If you would like to register by post call 01206 745282 or pop into Thomas Cycle Revolution on Peartree Avenue to pick up a flier.

Is there anything else you would like to talk about in terms of cycling?

If you would like to know more about the Essex Castle Bike Ride I will be a posting a short video about it onto the charity website at the end of May. You can also follow us on Twitter @essexcastlebike. or go to the charity website

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