Interview with Kim Sklinar

by Jaymi Mccann

Sitting in a quaint little cafe in Ealing, it is surprising that Kim is just back from a mammoth cycle from London to Paris, and is training for a 340 mile trip through Africa.

She describes her 300mile journey from London to Paris. “I did it with my brother, while my Dad was alive. We organised it as soon as he was diagnosed to shift some of the focus as my parents helped us fundraise.

“I do the charity work to raise funds for Macmillan as my Dad had cancer and subsequently died. I want to help people who are still alive to survive, give them hope, and give my Mum something to focus on the future rather than the past with all its memories.”

Kim’s life seems to be one charity mission after another. As well as her Paris trip she spent a year shopping exclusively in charity shops, again for Macmillan, raising over £4000 for the charity. She is now training for another cycling trip from Kenya to Tanzania, but this time is going it alone.

“I spend 3-4 gym sessions a week doing a mixture of weights (I can lift 100kg on a leg press!), Zumba, yoga and spinning/spin biking. I do need to get out on my bike more but the Africa challenge is mountain cycling not road cycling so in the gym I can train for hill climbs without fear of being run over!

“I’m really excited and the Paris trip has shown me how hard I need to train. I want to raise as much as I can but I’ve already got over £3000.”

The trip to Paris did show her that cycling long distance is not the same as cycling in London.

“It was a lot harder than I expected and I didn’t have the right bike (I used a hybrid) meaning I was slower than everyone. I hurt my knee too but finishing was amazing feeling – I was shattered.”

“I have a Cube Axial – a super road bike – but I know I will need to get different equipment for Africa.”

Kim is no stranger to urban cycling, having moved to the capital from Yorkshire five years ago to be with an ex-boyfriend. She considers the Big Smoke her home and loves the opportunities it gives her to cycle.

“I love it here! I love the freedom of cycling in London. I don’t drive so it gives me more independence than TFL offers. More cyclists on the roads means less cars which is better for everyone, and also the Boris Bikes are a great alternative way of getting around central instead of using the tube – great for tourists too.

“It’s so therapeutic to get some headspace and have nothing more to concentrate on than gear changes and which direction to take next.”

“But I do fear that I will never be able to afford more than a one bedroom flat!”

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