Ed Jackson ‘Riding Home for Christmas’

Ed Jackson takes on tandem cycling challenge for mental health charity at Christmas.

That sentence above doesn’t sound too impressive these days, does it? Riding from Lands End to London in the week before Christmas with your mate on a tandem? Sounds like a bit of a lark, ok the weather might be a bit rubbish, but it’s hardly endurance racing is it? So what makes this journey by former rugby professional Ed Jackson different?

Ed Jackson, Ross Stirling and Nordmann getting ready for their ride to London
Ed Jackson, Ross Stirling and Nordmann getting ready for their ride to London

Well how about the fact the Ed and his pilot Ross Stirling will be towing a Christmas tree called ‘Nordmann’ along the 550km route? Nordmann has accompanied Ed Jackson and Ross on their yearly Christmas challenges since 2021. Still not impressed? Then maybe the fact that Ed suffered a spinal cord injury in 2017 which left him paralysed makes it more of a challenge.

Ed Jackson and Nordmann tackling the 12 Peaks of Christmas in 2021
Ed Jackson and Nordmann tackling the 12 Peaks of Christmas in 2021

Ed’s story

Ed’s accident initially left him paralysed, with just some limited movement in his right arm. After a year of hard work, support and sheer bloody mindedness, he climbed Snowden. Since then Ed, his wife Lois and co-founder Olly set up the Millimetres 2 Mountains Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to help others re-define their own limitations, whilst changing a few perceptions about charity along the way.

Diving into a shallow swimming pool left Ed paralysed

Since that first Snowden trip, Ed has built a reputation as a world record breaking disabled mountaineer. So surely riding a tandem shouldn’t be much of a challenge? Well Ed is still dealing with the effects of his injury. These include limited mobility, leg spasms, temperature regulation problems, poor sensation, blood pressure spikes, bladder and bowel issues. Throw in the fact this is the first time he’s ridden a tandem and his longest bike prior to this? 15km!

Riding Home for Christmas

The pair’s journey started on Monday the 18 December, with the aim to reach London by the 22nd. Along the way they will stop at the Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury. Salisbury is where Ed was treated and he hopes his visit will provide inspiration to current patients in time for Christmas.

Ed and Ross at Lands End

From there, they will then ride the final stretch onto Twickenham. They will then pass through Hyde Park on 22 December, where they aim to then finish the ride on London Bridge. To support the challenge and The Millimetres 2 Mountains Foundation, make a donation by SMS – Text XMASRIDE to 70970 to donate £5 or text XMASRIDE to 70191 to donate £10. Alternatively, you can donate online via Crowdfunder.

To follow ride updates, track @edjackson8 and @millimetres2mountains on Instagram. if you’d like to ride alongside Ed and Ross, sign up via Eventbrite. Check social media updates about how to join the ride for the final 5-mile stretch from Hyde Park into London Bridge on 22nd December and for the finishing party at London Bridge.

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