Preparing for Ride4Sight 2016

Employees at Vision Express have been hard at work training for this year’s Ride4Sight bike ride.

For the third year, over 30 volunteer riders from Vision Express stores and support centre will be undergoing a gruelling test of endurance to raise as much money as they can for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

Newport, Vision Express, Ride4Sight

Staff at Newport Vision Express where the Ride4Sight 2016 will start

The two day bike ride will begin from our Newport store in Wales on the 16th September and finish at our support centre in Ruddington the next day on the 17th. The ride will take our cyclists through a scenic 200 mile route through the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean and the Cotwolds, stopping off at 4 Vision Express stores.

This will be the first Ride4Sight for Layla Alexander, who works in Accounts at the support centre.

“I wanted to take part in Ride4Sight because I think it is a great event, raising money and awareness for a fantastic cause. I also think it it a great way to get to know people across the business, people you may not get a chance to speak to on a day to day basis. Also, I like a challenge, and this is going to really push my boundaries both physically and mentally!”

In preparation, Layla has been training vigorously along with the rest of the team.

“I have been taking part in the training rides with guys from the team, as well as using spin/watt bikes at my gym combined with weights and resistance training. I have found it quite tough since I haven’t cycled since I was a child but I am finding myself getting better. I feel much more confident on my bike and I am physically much fitter than I was 3 months ago. I have also adapted my diet so I feel much healthier too!”

“I am looking forward to that sense of achievement when I cross the finish line. I also look forward to building relationships with the guys in the Ride4Sight team and you never know, I may find a new hobby in cycling once all the tough training is over! On a personal level, my son thinks ‘mummy’s shops’ sell glasses and give money to help children, so if I can make him even a little bit proud of what I have done and helped to achieve it will be worth it.”

Also taking part for the first time is Lucien Caunt who only started working at Vision Express in May.

“I used to be a keen cyclist – I’ve cycled to Skegness for charity twice (85 miles) but I haven’t ridden in a while, so Ride4Sight seemed like a good opportunity to get back into it.”

“I’ve been trying to get as much time in the saddle as I can – 20-25 miles a couple of times in the week and then a 40 mile route at the weekends. At first I found the training uncomfortable but it’s definitely getting easier, on most rides I feel like I could go forever and a day, it’s only when you stop that you feel how hard you’ve worked.”

Layla and Lucien join a number of Ride4Sight veterans. For Anna Talbot and Melanie Kyriakou, this year’s ride will be their second time.

Vision Express Ride4Sight Anna Mel

Together, Anna and Melanie took part in Ride4Sight in 2014 and are busy training again for this year’s ride

“I am riding every Monday and Tuesday after work with others from our store support centre that are also taking part in the ride for sight.” Says Anna.

“Some days are easier than others, but the hills can be very tough sometimes, particularly if you get in the wrong gear!”

Anna first took part in the event two years ago and enjoyed it so much she signed up again instantly.

“I hadn’t really been massively into cycling until the event two years ago. I have since continued to road cycle in my own time, however I am only a fair weather cyclist and tend to stick to spin classes during winter.”

“This year, I want to exceed my fundraising target, meet some great people and families who will really benefit from the money we raise and enjoy the experience, however painful it may be!”

“I’m finding the training very enjoyable,” Says Melanie, “I am in the zone and loving it – it’s a great way to ‘de-stress’ yourself after a busy day at work.”

For Darren Cole, this year will mark his third Ride4Sight. In 2013, Darren first decided to take part in the event which kick started not only a passion for cycling but a dramatic transformation in his lifestyle.


Darren Cole first got involved with Ride4Sight in 2013 undergoing a dramatic physical transformation in the process, losing 8 stone through training and cycling to work everyday.

“Before I started cycling, I did little to no exercise, but since those first few rides to and from work, wheezing along the canal paths of Beeston, I’ve ridden over 25,000 miles, completed two ‘Ride4Sight’ events and raised over £2,000 for charity.

“I’ve spend 1,400 hours on the bike, burned 625,000 calories, lost eight stone and 10 inches from my waist. The cycling bug has really bitten me hard!”

Cycling is an easy way to stay fit and healthy since it is a low impact form of exercise which is easier on your joints than high impact forms of exercise like running. Doctors recommend that 150 minutes of cycling a week is enough to build cardiovascular levels to an optimal level to counter conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The riders from Vision Express will also be joined by Olympic cyclist Bryan Steel and Paralympian footballer Darren Harris.


Follow #Ride4Sight on twitter to keep updated with the cyclists’ progress. To donate, text VERS49 £5 to 70070 or visit our JustGiving page at:

JustGiving Ride4Sight Vision Express

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