Striving is not always easy…

This week has probably been one of the toughest weeks we have ever had on STRIVE. There have been miserable conditions on the road with torrential rain & thunder storms, as well as crashes, fatigue and injuries. Everybody struggled in different ways, both on and off the bike, truly pushing themselves out of their comfort zone everyday.

For Cycle Stage Two, we started the week in Magliano in Toscano. Our new participants, with fresh legs and lots of energy, led the peloton through the Italian countryside, rustic villages and winding paths. The whole stage would see the team cycle 528km, conquering 6000m+ of elevation all the way to Salerno on the Amalfi coast.


 The team woke up in Viterbo on day two to torrential rainstorms; roads were were flooded, landslides had blocked the route, cars were crashing.  The storm had made the prospect of cycling treacherous. For Captain STRIVE Noah and the team, the conditions were simply dangerous.  For the safety of the riders, the decision was made to cancel the days cycling. It was a really hard decision to make- but on a month long expedition like Strive, sometimes conditions are out of your control. Nevertheless, we made the most of the situation, and challenged the team to raise as much money as possible for Big Change instead.


The STRIVERs were keen to get back on their bikes the following morning and continue on their epic adventure from Zermatt to Mount Etna.  The first climb of the day was the Rocca di Pappa (the ‘Box Hill’ of Rome). It had panoramic view of the city. The beautiful scenery (and pizza from the night before) gave the cyclists the drive to make it all the way to the summit.


But, whilst the sun was shining, the roads were still dangerously slippery from the storm the night before. On the descent we had a series of serious crashes, including one with Sam Branson and the team..


Fortunately, the four riders who collided, Sam, Elijah, Adam and Nick, after being treated by our awesome Jigsaw Medical Team, decided to ride together for the rest of the day. Whilst smiling and joking their way through the pain, their crash was fairly serious. If a car had been close by, it could have easily been a different story.  At Big Change, we believe it is how you are equipped to deal with these challenges that determines your success. For the Strivers who crashed, in their lives they have all had the chance to cultivate resilient mindset. This means that when they face challenges or set backs, they have developed the strength to be able to deal with them, and face them together. It is this form of resilience that we want all of our young people to have the opportunity to develop. That is why we are backing and investing in a project called How to THRIVE,  a programme that supports schools, teachers and students to build their emotional intelligence, resilience and ability to manage conflict and grow from setback.


In-between all the cycling photos of lycra and Italian scenery, it can often be forgotten why we all set out to create STRIVE in the first place, to raise money for Big Change. Big Change is a social impact accelerator, which backs projects, such as How to THRIVE, Voice 21 and City Year,  that equip young people with the skills, experiences an support to develop a growth mindset and thrive in life, not just in exams. Big Change act as a catalyst, by investing in projects at a critical time to amplify these successes a hundredfold.

But STRIVE is not an ordinary fundraiser, our STRIVERs themselves have to embrace the journey, learn from setbacks and failure, support each other, and have that growth mindset we wish to inspire in young people. For example, back on the road after the crash, the weather conditions took a turn for the worse, with  thunderstorms, lighting & torrential rain. The riding was miserable, but the Strivers decided to cycle as a giant peloton, embracing the conditions and pushing their way through the rain (with a little help from some tomato soup and cups of tea!)


For the final day of the stage, the sun was out and the team emerged in good spirits. It brought a fitting end to what had been a difficult week. In the words of Karl Lokko despite the conditions being treacherous, throughout the stage all STRIVERs had hope that we would make it to the end. After the challenges we faced together this week, we hope all the Strivers are now feeling as hopeful as we are that we can make a Big Change

#WeSTRIVE for BigChange

You can donate and support the team as the Strive for Big Change here…