BBC Media Action Team
Fielding a team of familiar BBC 'faces' in the race this year is BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity. Correspondents Mike Wooldridge, Stephen Sackur, Tulip Mazumdar and Laura Plitt are attempting the fastest fold and racing in true W1A style in support of the charity’s life-changing work around the world.
BBC Media Action uses media and communication to reduce poverty and help people to understand their rights in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – reaching more than 200 million people in 28 countries.
The charity is not funded by the license fee and instead relies on donations from international development agencies, NGOs, and individuals to continue its vital work. You can support the riders with an online donation or text BROM16 to 70070 and the amount up to £10 you want to donate. For example: "BROM16 £10"
‘The real W1A’
Stephen Sackur presents HARDTalk, the current affairs interview programme on the BBC News Channel, and is the main Friday presenter of GMT on BBC World News. He was a Foreign Correspondent for fifteen years. Renowned as a fierce and rigorous interviewer on HardTalk, away from the camera Stephen claims a gentler side:
“I’m a softie when the cameras are off! Most of all I love to be with my family, relaxing with a movie, going on a camping trip, or watching my beloved but terrible football team (Leeds United). If you have your health, if your family are happy, and you have a job that fulfills you, then you are truly blessed. I’ve lived long enough and travelled widely enough to know that love and friendship count for more than a mountain of money and material possessions.”
Stephen is looking forward to adding this latest sporting challenge to a list of regular pastimes that include tennis and marathon runs (he had completed the London marathon several times in recent years). Of how he will fare in the BWC challenge he says: “I’ll take my chances on the day!”
Tulip Mazumdar is the Global Health Correspondent for BBC News. She led the BBC's news coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa last year, ensuring the human stories behind the epidemic were told. Tulip has also worked on Newsnight, Panorama and coverage for the Malala Yousafzai shooting in Pakistan. Tulip first became a well-known radio voice during her BBC time as a news presenter on Radio 1’s Newsbeat. Tulip is part of a new generation of rising BBC correspondents and is looking forward to the Brompton World Championships. While trying to seem casual about the whole thing, she has secretly been in training (sort of):
“I just bought a bike recently... though the longest cycle I've done so far is about 10km!”
Mike Wooldridge OBE is a veteran BBC journalist, renowned as a BBC World Affairs Correspondent and is an ambassador for BBC Media Action. During his long-standing career at the BBC Mike has reported from four continents for just about every BBC News outlet there is. A keen cycling enthusiast and Brompton aficionado, Mike has form and has competed in the Brompton Championship before (racing at the Blenheim Palace event in 2011).
A top tip and one to watch Mike will bring his wisdom to the racing track. As the philosopher Lao-tzu says: “With one small step, the journey is begun. Don’t hurry into things and don’t jump ahead of yourself. There is only the moment where you are right now. The Sage gives all his attention to the present and has no difficulty. He is not distracted and his attention is total.”
Look out Johnny-come-latelys!
Laura Plitt has been a journalist for BBC Mundo, the BBC’s service for Spanish-speaking audiences in Latin America for more than 17 years. No stranger to exciting journeys, she once travelled from the Amazon rain forest to the Andes mountains to report on climate change. As a Brompton owner Laura cycles to BBC Broadcasting House in London every day but was recently forced to make alternative transport arrangements after she was knocked off her bike and suffered a broken shoulder. Now she’s back in the saddle and looking forward to the event, even if she’s not expecting to be a front-runner. “I’ve only been back cycling for about a month so this will be a challenge for me”, says Laura. “It’s my first ever race and I’ll be happy if I’m not last!”
And with such honesty, for those who like a flutter, you should get good odds on Laura.