Robin's Duchenne Dash

Robin Strong first heard about the Duchenne Dash when riding with a group of cyclists from Wimbledon, one being Ride Captain Will Pearson, who asked Robin to be a Ride Captain in 2017.

He's taken part in the Dash every year since.

Here's Robin's Dash story.

Seven Dashes down, many more to go

“My first Dash as a Ride Captain was 2017 and I have ridden every year since. In 2018, I was a Ride Captain in the DashMax, continuing from Paris for another 700 miles to Monaco. In 2021, I was one of a few Ride Captains who rode back from Paris on Sunday, getting back to London at lunchtime on Monday.”


Why I joined 

“I was part of a group of cyclists from the Wimbledon area who rode regularly with Will Pearson, the organiser of the Dash Ride Captains. I’d ridden in plenty of longer events, had raised money for other charities and had previously trained with a coach, so I knew what was involved. When Will asked me to join the Ride Captains for the Dash in 2017, I said yes immediately. To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but immediately recognised that I could help some of the less experienced riders, whether before the event with training rides, motivational words en route (bad jokes?!) or the occasional push to help riders get over those hills.”


An incredible event

“The Dash is an incredible event. The commitment from the less experienced riders is incredible – actually, awe-inspiring! It’s hard enough for a regular cyclist to cover 300km in 24 hours, nevermind a beginner. There’s nothing like the switch from the general fatigue at the outskirts of Paris to elation when you ride up the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe and you know you’re almost there!”


You can do it too 

“If you are a regular cyclist, this is a step up from the normal sportives that you may have ridden previously. We have full motorcycle support riders ensuring riders are safe, mechanics with each group of riders to cater for bike issues, vast quantities of calorie-dense foodstuffs to keep you fueled, rider groups based on ability to keep you together, etc. It’s the best-run event that I know of!”

“If you are new to cycling and unsure about whether you can do it, we’ve had a lot of novice cyclists over the years and have always been able to get them to Paris in one piece! There is still plenty of time to start training and we’ll be holding group rides early in the new year.”

“Although it sounds like a long way to Paris, there are plenty of refuelling stops and we manage the pace to make sure all riders can complete the course. The money raised is incredibly valuable to the charity and the work Duchenne UK has done benefits many other rare diseases too. So come on, what are you waiting for – sign up now!!!”

Robin's training tips

Generally speaking, the more you ride, the better you will get but here are a few tips:

  1. Variety – don’t just ride the same route, the same way every time. Find some hills or add in some sprints. If you commute, try leaving the bike in a high gear at traffic lights and try and sprint away as hard as you can.
  2. Groups – try and ride in a group. This is good practice for the Dash but you’ll also learn lots of tips from more experienced riders. If you arrange to meet others for a ride, you are less likely to back off if it’s cold and wet.
  3. Indoor – if you have access to a turbo trainer/Wattbike/Peloton either at home or a gym, they are a great way of training over the winter when the weather isn’t great. Try following one of their multi-week training programmes.”