Tui’s Belinda Vazquez is cycling the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity – without leaving her kitchen.
The retail director for Tui UK & Ireland has set up her laptop on a desk bike so she can pedal while working, with the aim of cycling 1,000 miles during October.
She has a fundraising target of £1,500, which will be donated to the TravelCares appeal launched by Travel Weekly and Abta Lifeline.
“We introduced these bikes to our offices in Luton, just a month or so before lockdown,” she said.
“I’ve had six months working from home, snacking in the kitchen, but I thought I might as well be pedalling instead, and exercising more, so I set myself this personal challenge.”
To reach her target, she needs to cycle at least 33 kilometres per day by pedalling during meetings with colleagues.
She chose the TravelCares appeal as she recognises the challenges faced by many people in the industry during the pandemic.
Tui UK & Ireland closed 166 stores, putting 900 jobs at risk, although about 70% of those staff have been retained as homeworkers.
“It was heart-breaking to close those stores,” she said.
Vazquez also highlights the mental health challenges of the pandemic and took part in the recent Travel Weekly webinar which offered advice for those suffering with mental health problems.
“Doing this challenge gives me something to aim for, which is important for mental health generally,” she said.
“I can monitor my progress on the bike and see how I am burning calories too.”
Her colleague Katie McAlister – chief marketing officer at TUI UK & Ireland – has taken up open water swimming during the pandemic and has swum in the English Channel and Lake District.
Vazquez has admired the work of Abta Lifeline over the years and Tui retail staff have taken part in the charity’s fundraising efforts such as the Big Charity Days.
“Charities rely so much on events and I do feel they are losing out this year,” she said.
So far, the TravelCares appeal has raised more than £18,000, including donations from Vazquez and GiftAid.
To sponsor her, click here.
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