Sophie takes on 445 mile palace-to-palace bike ride for DofE Award

To mark the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is to undertake 445 mile bike ride.

The 445 mile journey will take the 51-year-old from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace, Sophie having signed up for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s Diamond Challenge.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex in training for her 445 mile cycle ride from Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace in September. Picture by ROTA / i-Images

Sophie, Countess of Wessex in training for her 445 mile cycle ride from Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace in September. Picture by ROTA / i-Images

Sophie, a trustee of the award foundation, will undertake the monumental challenge in September over the course of a week. She will be joined by a small team of servicemen and women from four of her military affiliations: RAF Wittering (of which she is Honorary Air Commodore); 5th Battalion The Rifles (Sophie is their Royal Colonel); Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and Corps of Army Music (both of which she is Colonel in Chief).

The Countess said: “I am both excited and apprehensive to be undertaking this challenge on behalf of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Anniversary Appeal!

“I have seen for myself the incredible impact the DofE has on every young life it touches, equipping young people with self-belief and motivation whatever their background or ability. So I had no hesitation in taking on a Diamond Challenge and hope this will encourage others to try their own.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, set up by Sophie’s father-in-law Prince Philip in 1956, has become one of the best known self-development schemes for 14 to 24-year-olds.

About 2.5m UK participants have achieved awards since its inception, and an international scheme operates in more than 140 countries and territories across the world.

In a post on the British Monarchy’s website, the mother-of-two spoke about her training: “Cycling is something I only tend to do with my children and never for more than the odd hour.

“It is something I’ve always found to be one of the more testing forms of exercise physically and mentally, so cycling it had to be!

“I am now training hard and trying to get to grips with the kit, the fitness level, the seat(!), the aching shoulders, wrists and backside, the terrifying roads, the hills and worst of all the cleats!

“Yes, I have fallen off several times, but the bruises are fading and each time out gets a little better.”

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