Rosie's rickshaw challenge experience
Rosie and Matt Baker
Rosie (aka Roisin) Clear, a first-year Media, Journalism and Publishing student and Brookes Sport Ambassador, last month participated in the 2020 Rickshaw Challenge as part of BBC’s Children in Need. The team of six young people, lead by Matt Baker, managed to collectively cycle 830 miles and raised over £5 million. Due to the extraordinary year that 2020 is, the original plan of cycling 332 miles at the Goodwood Estate in Sussex had to be abandoned due to COVID, but that didn’t deter the team.
Rosie has Spastic Diplegia, which is a type of Cerebral Palsy and it was caused by a small lack of oxygen to her brain at birth. This means that she struggles with walking and has to sometimes use a walking frame, a stick, or more often a wheelchair. Predominantly, she lacks balance and stamina.
Now that Rosie has recovered from her week of cycling, we were able to ask her some questions about her story and the Rickshaw Challenge experience. We are so proud of her achievements, and we are excited to share her story.
Why did you choose to study at Oxford Brookes?
“I chose to study at Brookes because of the strength of the course I am undertaking, which is Media, Journalism and Publishing. I also chose to study in Oxford, as I am from North West London, Oxford is relatively close to home. Furthermore, my family know Oxford decently well, as my sister studied in Oxford too. So all in all, Oxford seemed like a good fit.”
How did you get involved in the Rickshaw Challenge?
“I got involved with the Rickshaw Challenge by being put forward by someone who works closely with me, in the project I was raising money for. She thought I’d be right for it and put me forward. Neither of us thought it would get as far as being selected, so it was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least!”
What did your project do for you? How did they help?
“The project I was doing the Rickshaw Challenge to raise money for is called The Pace Centre. This is a specialised primary school which help children with motor disorders such as Cerebral Palsy use their ability in the best way they can, all while giving children an academic education at the same time. To put this into perspective, Pace taught me how to walk and be as independent as possible, while also teaching me to read and write. Without them, I would not be where I am today, nor the person. So I thought it was only right that I gave back!”
How has Brookes Sport facilitated your training for the Rickshaw Challenge?
“Brookes Sport helped me an awful lot whilst training for the Rickshaw. I was able to train every day in the gym. I would use the bike and leg press to build strength and stamina for the miles I would be riding. This was vital, otherwise, I would not have been ready for the challenge, so I’m thankful that I was able to use Brookes Sport’s facilities effectively.”
Could you describe your experience with the Rickshaw challenge from start to finish?
“It was such a good experience, despite its definite hurdles. Obviously, the challenge was going to have to be different this year, from the get-go due to COVID. On a normal year, the team would have cycled the distance out in the open, with many of the public there to spur us on. But in our case – we were going to go to the glorious grounds of Goodwood. So the team got to Goodwood raring to go.
We were there for a few days before the challenge to get our bearings, and then on day one of the actual challenge itself – because unfortunately one of the crew members tested positive for Coronavirus.
This was clearly not ideal and it knocked everyone involved quite a lot, including Matt Baker and the crew behind the scenes. We weren’t entirely sure how the challenge was now going to take shape, but everyone was quite clear that this was not the end for Team Rickshaw!
It transpired that all the team members (if they didn’t already have one at home) were sent an exercise bike so we could carry on with the challenge from home. We would have daily Zooms (in the true spirit of 2020 really, isn’t it) with Matt and he would always ask how we were and get us to tell our stories. These zooms were recorded and then sent on to the One Show for a segment in the show every night the Rickshaw was going on (The One Show was where the Rickshaw Challenge would air, as it was Matt Baker’s baby, and he is an ex-presenter of theirs).
We were also asked to get our families to record close-ups of us cycling and send them in, so the segments could be broken up. Our families became our DIY camera crew – if you like!
Despite this difference, the team still gelled very well and kept on supporting each other. So, it was different from what we all expected but still just as rewarding and fun! Not to mention, as a collective we ended up raising just over £5,0000,000! Absolutely crazy! Especially in such a difficult time such with COVID. People still found it in their heart to donate to Children in Need for our causes, which meant a lot to all of us.”
Will physical activity remain a part of your routine in the future?
“When gyms reopen, I am planning on going back most days – if not every! It’s really good for my stamina and strength and makes me feel like I am taking control of my body, which always makes me feel happier about myself.”
If you could pass on one piece of wisdom or information to the readers what would it be?
“If I had any advice to the readers, it would be to try and maintain adaptability and resilience honestly. For example, this year has definitely been a tough one, but we just have to keep moving with the punches and adapting to circumstance, I believe it will make us stronger in the long run, both as individuals and as a society.”
We are excited to hear more about Rosie’s journey through her time at Oxford Brookes as one of our Brookes Sport Ambassadors.
If you're interested in trying out our facilities? Please visit Brookes Sport for details about our facilities.