A Wollaton woman has begun her attempt to break a cycling record set 77 years ago for the longest distance cycled by a woman in a year.
Kajsa Tylen, 39, from Wollaton, began the challenge on January 1 when she set of from Leisure Lakes Bikes in Breaston, to beat Billie Fleming’s 1938 world record of pedalling for 29,603 miles in a year.
Before Fleming died last year, aged 100, she was interviewed about her world record, set in 1938, in an article which captured Kajsa’s imagination.
Kajsa is now aiming to cyle 31,069 miles, by totalling an impressive 100 miles per day.
Although she does not have a set planned route, she will be cycling in the UK, and will be staying at camp sites and hotels along the way.
She said: “My biggest hurdle is the wind, because I am as light as a feather I get thrown around like one as well.
“There are so many things that I will be able go and see, like Hadrian’s Wall, and I met a lady on Twitter who’s from Denmark and has plotted some routes for me, I saw that she has taken a picture next to a giant egg sculpture so I have to go see that.”
She added she has had offers from people to help her with meals, at bike shops, and by biking alongside her on parts of her journey to show their support.
For six months Kajsa trained for an Iron Man triathlon, which she competed in August, and has since been trying to cycle as much as she can at home and with her coach Brian Steel.
Kajsa has a physiotherapist and a chiropractor to help her stay fit, as well as having a flu jab to lesson her chances of falling ill whilst completing her challenge.
Due to the amount of variables involved in the cycle it is unclear how many calories Kajsa will burn a day, but she prepares her body for exercise with a large breakfast and by eating every three hours, or by snacking every half hour whilst she is cycling.
I calculated that I lose around 100ml of fluid and sweat every 15 minutes
Kajsa said: “I calculated that I lose around 100ml of fluid and sweat every 15 minutes in the summer, so the idea is to try and replenish that.”
To achieve the women’s Guinness World Record title Kajsa will need to bike 85 miles a day, but has set herself a target of 100 miles a day to make up for any illness or other hurdles she may face along the way.
Kajsa says her biggest concerns are the unknown, the weather and a muscle injury on her thigh, but is trying not to worry about factors which are out of her control.
“I am looking forward to the adventure, meeting new people, and hopefully motivating people to come out and join me.
“I have been travelling before, I took my bike on my own to Japan, which was amazing. On a bike you see so much more, its special when you cycle you see things away from the tourist paths.”
Kajsa said she originally made the decision to do the ride based on the challenge, but also looked to find a charity that helps adults get into cycling.
After not being able to find a charity that represented what she originally wanted she came up with the idea of people donating a ‘sweat pledge’ instead of money.
Kajsa said: “I feel like I am still helping people that way, and it motivates me to see what other people have achieved.”
Anyone can join her group on Strava to make a sweat pledge as a goal, and by logging their training along the way.
Kajsa is being sponsored by Sapone cycling, Specsavers and Leisure Lakes Bikes, who have supplied her with new specialised bike to break the record, which she named “Billie”.
Billie Fleming’s step son, Peter Samwell said : “I think Billie would have been delighted to hear that she is doing the cycle, and I wish her every success in her challenge.”
He added: “In some ways I guess it will be easier than it was in 1938, the roads are better than they were then and the equipment available is much better, but perhaps it is more difficult to get sponsorship and to be able to take a year out of one’s life.”
As 2016 is a leap year Kajsa will finish her challenge on December 30.
She added: “I think that there are lots of female role models out there, but I think the biggest ones aren’t necessarily sports personalities but the people that you meet and start a sport to keep healthy, and are passionate about a challenge which is more attainable to the average person.”
To support Kajsa and to find out more about her challenge visit www.ayearinthesaddle.com