Kajsa Tylen; A Year in the Saddle
Kajsa Tylen’s record-breaking attempt at riding the most kilometres in a year
Records are meant to be broken. Having said that, some bars are set so skyscrapingly high, that it takes someone with an alternative mindset to even want to break them – let alone succeed. That would explain how, while feats of athleticism and dedication are broken, more and more frequently, Billie Dovey’s eye-watering record has stood for over 77 years. From January 1, 1938, Dovey rode 29,603 miles on her three-speed road bike in one calendar year.
On January 1, 2016, someone with the ideal blend of determination, adventure and crazy decided to take on this feat. Swedish-born and self-proclaimed ‘Psuedo-Brit’ Kajsa Tylen set off on the first day of the year to beat this long-standing record.
On a ‘workday’, Kajsa is a business analyst – by no means, a cardio-stimulating vocation. However, her love for taking on a challenge and her innate nomadic tendencies drive her ‘off-days’ to be consistently active. Now, she’s taking 365 of them, but it would be hard to call any of them an ‘off-day’.
Having previously competed in Ironman competitions and triathlons, Kajsa has committed herself to riding 8-10 hours a day. That’s every day. Yes, every day – no matter the weather nor how much her saddle-suffering gluts scream to her brain to park it on a sofa or similar soft surface.
“Can I do it? It begs the question.
It’s a challenge of endurance… Every day for an entire year, I have to wake up, get my Lycra on, and head out on my bike. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, hailing or howling – cycling has to be done. I suspect I’ll spend many a day wishing I were anywhere but on a bike. But I’m hoping that people will ride with me, to take my mind off things.
Some might question whether I can do this. To them, I say yes (obviously). I may not have a cycling pedigree, although falling off my bike when I was a kid sliding down a hill face first on gravel proves that I do have a history of cycling…”
What is Kajsa’s motivation for this mission? It’s actually the same values that encouraged Billie Dovey to cycle until the calendar switch over. She wants to inspire people to want to exercise – to get out and cycle.
“My mission is to get adults active and to feel good about themselves, in order to set a good example for the next generation.
So, instead of asking people to donate money to a worthwhile cause, I want donations of SWEAT; a pledge to make a lifestyle change in 2016. The idea is that people make a pledge – an activity goal – and that is followed by their donations of minutes of sweat while training, and by the end of 2016 we will have a total of how many hours of exercise have been donated.
There will be no greater motivator for me than knowing that others are going out and making a difference to their lives even if it’s only partly because of what I’m doing. Although it shouldn’t be for me – it should be for each individual, and the inspiration that they can be to their children and their friends, relatives and acquaintances. I would say it’s a spider’s web with me in the middle, or a tree with me as the trunk. But I’d be foolish and naive to think this has started with me; my inspirations are many! What keeps me going the most, is knowing that I have made a difference to other people’s lives, and they have in turn done the same for others. All I’m doing is spinning my part of web or, if you prefer the other metaphor, growing my own branch in the tree. I’m just hoping that my web will catch a hell of a lot of flies or that my branch will grow to shade some huge picnics!’
Read part 2 of Kajsa’s incredible journey here.