16-year-old Bethany Freeman and her mother Amanda have recently arrived back in Milford Haven after cycling 700 miles across Britain over eight days. The trek began in Giants Causeway, Ireland and ended in London.
The Herald managed to get hold of Amanda for a talk about how much she enjoyed The Rickshaw Challenge.
“It was so much harder than I thought,” said Amanda. “Bethany loved it. She missed her father a lot at the beginning. I had tried to tell her that he wasn’t going to be there but I don’t think she actually realised it. We were riding along one day and she saw somebody that looked like him and she started shouting ‘Dad!’”
Bethany and Amanda cycled with four other people in The Rickshaw Challenge as well as their partners and met many celebrities on the way.
“We met Jason Donavan, but Bethany wasn’t phased by that. She knew who he was, and she stood with her arms around him for about half an hour! We also saw Amir Khan in Bolton and we met the cast of Eastenders in Albert Square,” says Amanda. “It was such an adventure”.
Amanda had to cycle five miles up hill in the Lake District. She told The Herald how she got to do it: “This was the highest point in The Rickshaw, and all the men were wanting to do it saying ‘I’ll do it’, then someone else would say ‘No, I’ll do it’. In the end, Matt Baker came in and said ‘The next part is five miles up hill. You’re doing it Amanda’. I couldn’t really say no!” Amanda was filmed with tears in her eyes while cycling uphill due to the intensity of it. Amanda recalls the moment: “I was dying. Had it been a normal push bike I would have got off and walked, but The Rickshaw isn’t like a normal bike. It’s very solid and you can feel every bump. Plus it was being filmed!”
Bethany is only 4ft 11ins and was the smallest rider on The Rickshaw. Bethany had to have a special seat which was lower than the rest and was softer.
When cycling out of Birmingham, Bethany fell off The Rickshaw bike. Amanda said: “I didn’t see her fall over but when I looked she was lying on the road. I rushed out to her to see if she was okay, and she lifted her head and said ‘It’s all your fault mum’, which is her usual reaction to falling over. I knew that she was okay after she said that!”
Amanda continued: “She was okay. She had a helmet and protective clothing on, which did help her. Her coat ripped though and she wouldn’t wear it again, so I had to wear it afterwards! I also had to get on The Rickshaw then for her. I could see she was fine, so I didn’t mind”.
Bethany rode The Rickshaw bike into Oxford on day seven. BBC Children In Need raised £250,000 in half an hour that night through text messages. “It was such a great experience. People were chanting her name when we cycled past and one lady ran after us and gave Bethany a pair of reindeer slipper to put her feet up afterwards – she loves them!”
After meeting a number of celebrities and getting a mention from Oprah Winfrey, Milford Haven is proud to have Bethany and Amanda home safely.
Congratulations to you both from all here at The Pembrokeshire Herald.