We previously ran a story about Roy and his efforts to raise money for Prostate Cancer plus awareness of his idea that ‘bike to work’ needs extending to other groups, such as pensioners. He’s now been on his Big Long Ride, so here’s the epilogue to the story.
- Rider: Roy, male, 66yrs young
- Status: new knees, arthritic, prostate cancer survivor, more enthusiasm than sense
- Mission: to raise government awareness that ebikes should receive a subsidy and also to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
After a few months of training for the Yorkshire Mountain Marathon, the big day had finally arrived and I awoke in the caravan at base camp on the Wolds Way Caravan site, where Derek very kindly waived our pitch fees and asked they be added to my Just Giving page for the prostate cancer charity (very kind). With a belly full of porridge and my sarnies packed ready it was off to the event. I thought I would be quite early at 8.30am, but to my surprise when I got there it was actually very busy.
As the big day approached it seems my potential riding buddies had all regained full mental capacity and decided they needed to wax their legs on the 12th of June. Some even had strained eyelashes,. Undeterred I rode alone.
With eagerness I jumped out of the van straight into a pile of sheep dung, now this normally wouldn’t be a problem but I was only wearing a pair of sandals, damn. On with the riding shoes and off to the start area.
The event is very well organised by Northern Ride of Malton (thanks Ash for all your pre-ride help) and start times are staggered. Joining in with the 65km riders I soon got chatting and settled into the adventure.
The first loop is 40km with a mixture of terrain, road, farm tracks and tricky wooded sections, quite a few fallers in the woods on steep descents but not for this old geezer, I managed to stay upright and was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I finished the first 40km, which I actually clocked at 44km (battery anxiety creeping in).
So off again on the 25km loop, battery running low but made it to the feeding station.
Now it became clear from here that I may not make it on battery power and on what I like to call Mount Midoriyama, I finally ran out of power about two thirds of the way up this climb, yikes.
So for the last 10km I was pedalling unassisted, not a great problem on the flat but a bit difficult on anything uphill. My 66 year-old frame was starting to tire but of course my knees are only 7 years old, so they felt like new.
As I rolled into the finish area my odometer read 71km, ascent 4732ft and my actual riding time was 4hr 35mins, not bad for an old guy.
My special thanks go to
- MTB Monster in Blackburn for helping with the bike purchase and putting up with me.
- To Peaty’s LTF for also believing and providing bits of kit.
- Zyro Fisher for the DND Giro Gloves.
- Ergon for the GA3 grips.
- Cycle works Yorkshire LTD Penistone for some new riding shoes as mine dropped to bits during the training.
- Money raised for Prostate Cancer UK currently at £614, many thanks to all who have contributed.
A reminder of Roy’s wider mission:
So what is the point of all this, beyond the fun of riding?
We need to press this government for a fresh look at the cycle to work scheme, which currently excludes the thousands of pensioners, retired people or people with disabilities who, through ill health or simply aging limbs, need financial support to carry on cycling – by electric or non-electric means. As we get older, and perhaps stop travelling into the workplace, it’s just as important for us to protect our physical and mental health and wellbeing – and not become a forgotten generation. At the moment we are simply offered a bus pass, whilst this is welcome it does nothing to encourage us into a healthier lifestyle. Older people want to be sustainable, and our age or physical limitations doesn’t simply mean we want to drive or take a bus everywhere.
For anyone reading this, if you are in a cycling club or just riding with your pals, then write to your local MP to lobby central government to extend financial support for e-bike purchase. After all, the government provides support for all kinds of electric transport but not bikes.
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