JANE Langdon’s 13th charity bike ride across India proved particularly unlucky.
The 59-year-old from Willow Grove, Buckley, has now raised more than £30,000 for leprosy charity LEPRA which helps fight the disease in remote and poor communities.
But on her most recent trip earlier this year the mum-of-three had her trusty bike crushed on the flight home and during the trip she had an uncharacteristic fall.
She said: “My 13th visit was a bit unlucky. I fell off my bike, which is very rare, and on the way home my bike got crushed. It is one of the perils of taking sports equipment on the aeroplane.”
She added: “Before I was due to go out I came down with swine flu. Our health systems are so good in this country, I knew what it was from all the public health information that the NHS put out about it. It made me appreciate how vital this is.”
Jane, who is retired after setting up her own company, spent two weeks in the country following the work of LEPRA staff and volunteers as part of a bike ride group of 19 people.
She said: “We ride between 25 and 70 miles a day depending on whether we are looking at projects or what the terrain is like.
“On the trip we get to know each other. It is not an endurance test or a race. Once we get into the poorer areas we spend a lot of time looking for the road between the potholes.”
Jane took part in her first trip to India 10 years ago after reading a newspaper article for a disease she thought had been eradicated centuries ago.
She said: “My idea of basic accommodation was a budget hotel. I arrived at Calcutta at 4am, it was a bit different.
“It is beyond belief some of the things we have seen. The first thing we do with sufferers is touch and hug them. We are so healthy there is virtually no chance of us catching the disease. We show them there is no stigma as far as we are concerned.
“It is rewarding to see how things have improved over the 10 years I have been going. It is good to see the charity is making a big difference.”
On one of her trips Jane took her daughter Anna, 29, a nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital and was thrilled to show her the work of the charity. But what do the rest of her family think?
“They think I am as mad as a hatter, but they are very supportive and I think they are proud of me.”