Taj Mahal

Two wheeled trip of lifetime takes in Taj Mahal

CLC World member Caroline Neilsen marked her 50th birthday last year by setting herself a personal challenge to raise money for her local air ambulance service, which is solely funded by donations.

And Caroline set the bar high! Not for her a local event in her home town of Waddington in Lincolnshire Instead she took on the challenge of a lifetime – a testing cycle tour around India, covering 310 miles in six days. A big decision for someone who had only made an occasional bike trip to the local shops!

She asked for birthday donations rather than presents, sought more money through sponsorship from employers and other family and friends, and raised the grand total of £3,000 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, based a mile from her home.

She spent a large part of 2013 training hard but had to take time out after a nasty skid on a dirty road at the end of October resulted in her falling off her bike. She broke a metatarsal in her right foot, was in a protective boot for five and a half weeks and couldn’t train for eight weeks.

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She got back on track after a month’s intensive training in January at the local gym and set off on her own to India in February this year. There she became part of a group of 8 who were taking part in the Rajasthan Tiger Challenge, listed on the Charity Challenge website, and all raising money for their respective charities.

“This was my first trip to India and the first time I have ever done anything like this, and I have never raised money for a charity before. It’s very hard to put into words how life is like in India. It’s a fascinating and complex mix,” said Caroline.

The group took an early morning train from Delhi to Agra, where they visited the Taj Mahal and took in the sites of Agra via tuc tuc. The eight set off the next morning on their bikes, heading through the city, and via towns and villages on their way to Jaipur. The aim was to cycle 50 miles daily and on the fifth day, despite rain, thunder and lightning, the intrepid cyclists sped on.

“Any road rules are ignored and you can have traffic coming at you from every direction! That can be people walking in the road, bikes, mopeds, rickshaws, tuc tucs, cars, lorries, buses and various animals so we had to keep our wits about us!” said Caroline.

She added: “Not only have I been able to raise money for a good cause, I have had a wonderful opportunity to visit an amazing country and enjoy some breathtaking sights. So many people in India seem to have very little, but mostly seem to be very happy and friendly, and the experience will be unforgettable.”

Mum of two Caroline and her husband John joined CLC World in 2011 as fractional owners and have subsequently invested in Regal Oaks in Florida and are excited to see the completion of their home. She has used her membership to visit Turkey and Tenerife and will stay at Santa Cruz Suites at Club La Costa World later this year. And she and John are also looking forward to tackling a new challenge together when they join the CLC World Yacht Club on a four day break in Venice – neither have sailed before and are looking forward to the experience.

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