Alison Baum

It has been many months since I set myself the personal challenge to cycle to Paris and raise £5000 for Best Beginnings. Thanks to the support of Hunters the solicitors, the company Moo and some dear friends we have built a team of 15 cyclists.

All Spring and Summer I cycled to and from my meetings and built up the miles on weekend bike rides.  Years ago, when I was younger and fitter, I cycled London to Paris two and loved every minute of it.  I’ve been SO looking forward to the ride, to getting to know all my fellow cyclists and to raising vital finds for Best Beginnings.

It is therefore with an incredibly heavy heart that, on the insistence of the surgeon who recently operated on my right leg, I am not doing the bike ride. Knowing how hard I have trained, how important the funding is for Best Beginnings and in fear that I might cycle against medical advice, my husband, sons, siblings and parents have come up with the idea that everyone should sponsor me NOT to cycle.

I set up Best Beginnings in memory of my uncle Prof. David Baum and in response to the challenging start that my two sons had. My family have been unimaginable supportive of my work over the last ten year and in respect of that I’m doing just what they’ve asked.

To donate scroll to the bottom of this page.

To find out about the work of Best Beginnings and the difference your donation can make scroll down to watch a series of short films - including news items featuring, Best Beginnings, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and I.

But first, for those of you who want to know why I can’t cycle, here’s the abridged version of what happened:

On Sunday Aug 14th I set off alone to cycle to my friend Beth in Windsor. 30 miles into the 30.5 mile ride I came a cropper on a roundabout.  Below you can watch the vlogs I made on the day before and after the incident.

I was battered and bruised so, to be safe, I had back and neck and leg x-rays. All were clear. The bruising and swelling on my right leg was very dramatic and my leg was sore but I didn’t think for a moment that my Paris ride would be in jeopardy.

Two weeks after my roundabout incident the haematoma on my right shin became infected and wasn't responding to oral antibiotics to the hospital began me on a much stronger antiobiotic that needed to be administered intravenously.

On Saturday 3rd Sept, after my son’s Bar Mitzvah, following six days of the I/V antibiotics, I went back up to the Royal Free hospital. By now the infection was spreading up and down my leg so I was admitted with the plan being more antibiotics overnight and a general anaesthetic and surgery in the morning. 

The timing couldn’t be worse as the afternoon and evening of Sunday 4th was the date of my son’s long planned for Bat Mitzvah Party. Guests had already arrived from across the globe and had enjoyed the Saturday service. Cancelling the party wasn’t an option.

On Sunday morning when the surgeon came to see me I asked if we could postpone the operation until the Monday. I was told in no uncertain terms that failure to go to theatre immediately would be putting my leg and life in danger.

I felt a bit like a poorly Cinderella; despite needing a general anaethetic and surgery at lunchtime, somehow I had to go to the "Ball". I explained that it was essential that I go thatafternoon to the Bar Mitzvah party. It was agreed that if I was well enough to discharge myself from the recovery room I could return to the hospital and be re-admitted on Sunday night after the part.

My brother and sister-in-law and my niece delivered me a wheelchair to the Recovery room - where I was waking up from my General Anaesthetic.

The nurses helped me into my "glad-rags"

My friend Sara came to the hospital to help me get ready.  Together we left the Recovery Room put the wheelchair in her car and wait straight to the party to meet my family and friends!

I was on post-op painkillers and so drank Cranberry juice from a cocktail glass!


After the party my wonderful big sister took me back to the hospital and my hubbie got our boys home to bed.

Here I am heading home from hospital a couple of days later.


Home sweet home!!

I set up office in the staff area of the Best Beginnings' office in preparation for the launch of our new SpringBoard Programme on 15th September.

HUGE thanks to:

  • to the nurses and doctors at the Royal Free for your medical care and for allowing me to leave and then return!
  • my incredible Team at Best Beginnings for all your brilliant work and dedication
  • my friends and family for your practical and emotional support.  As many of you know, as a family we've also been in and out of hospital this summer with my eldest son David. I'm so pleased to say that his second operation last week went well and he was discharged today and is recovering at home.

I'm heading up to the Royal Free twice a week to have my deep wound cleaned and dressed and have just found out I'm not even allowed to go to Paris in the support vehicle. It has been a roller-coaster ride and the impossible has happened - I'm NOT going to Paris.

Here are the vlogs I made for my training after and before my roundabout incident. Scroll down lower for films the brand new Abbey Clancy film that explains what Best Beginnings does and how you can get involved.

And don't forget to scroll to the bottom to donate.

The first 20 miles of my London to Windsor ride had gone so well.  I had met some lovely people along the canal and I didn't even mind that one of them, Darek, a lovely Polish guy, kept overtaking me despite the fact that I was cycling and he was running all the way to Windsor!   

The day got off to such a great start: 

Here's my first bike ride vlog, when I was in Taunton a few weeks ago:

Huge thanks to everyone who has sponsored me or who is about to sponsor me. Read on to see some fun photos of the awesome Brompton World Championship I was proud to be part of a few weeks ago and to find out about the work of Best Beginnings.

Here's a film featuring Abbey Clancy that we created to launch our new SpringBoard programme.

See this one minute film about Baby Buddy:

Within Baby Buddy there are over 200 films to support parents-to-be and new parents including over 50 about maternal mental health. Because of this Best Beginnings was approached by the Royal Foundation and became one of the eight founding charities of the Heads Together Campaign. See the film about Heads Together featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry that was aired during the 2016 Marathon:

The campaign formally launched on May 16th. See this Channel 5 news item featuring their Royal Highnesses, Baby Buddy, our Supporter Abbey Clancy, myself and my son Josh, whose personal story led me to set up the charity 10 years ago:

A few weeks ago I was honored to be chosen as the Heads Together Ambassador talking about the campaign and about the BBQ that Prince Harry hosted:

Please sponsor me NOT to cycle to Paris.

To see the fundraising pages of all our cyclists click here.

If running is your thing, why don't you apply to run the London Marathon for Best Beginnings as part of the Heads Together campaign. You can register here.

Thanks to the generosity of the Royal Foundation we have 15 places for the 2017 Virgin Money Marathon. We will be choosing our runners carefully so please do explain why you want to run for Best Beginnings and why you are confident you can raise your fundraising target. If you can guarantee raising at least £10,000 we'll give you a place next week, otherwise you'll have to wait until the autumn to find out if you have been chosen.

Scroll down below the pictures that follow to get to the all important Donate button! 
Very best wishes and thank you!

[email protected]



Me and Fraser from Apple, From the                      One of my many canal training rides
Brompton World Championship


Cycling with my dear friend Juliette round Rchmond Park


Beth (above) is doing the ride. She was amoungst the people that rescued me from the ditch.



Here I am at the Brompton World Championship - it was SUCH fun!


Here is the runner who kept on overtaking me on my                 Me and fellow pink Brompton owners
way to Windsor.                                                                       I wasn't planning to cycle to Paris on this bike!

Alison Baum