Brave North Herts cyclists gear up for big city charity ride
When thousands of cyclists lock their feet into their stirrups and begin pedalling on a gruelling charity cycle ride at the weekend, there will be a fair smattering of North Herts riders in the pack.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will see an estimated 25,000 riders following a 100-mile route from the Olympic Park, through central London, into Surrey and back again before finishing up on The Mall.
Peter Wyatt – a porter at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital – will be among those taking on the epic challenge to raise cash for Plan International, a charity which works to advance children’s rights around the world.
Peter – who once got on his bike for a very different reason, as a paperboy for the Comet – will be riding his classic Dawes Galaxy touring bike which he used to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats back in 1989.
Peter said: “It’s not about personal glory. We have comfortable lives here despite what people think, and I find it unacceptable that adults and children alike have a phone with them at all times, while many folks around the world do not have clean water to drink or adequate sanitation.
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“Through Plan International we sponsor a young lad called Ganesh who lives in Rajasthan, India, and we have communication with him, his family and community.
“I hope to raise a sizeable sum to help with education, sanitation and basic living needs for the poorer folks in the world.
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“Plan International has also made great efforts recently to teach young women about the dangers of child marriage and female genital mutilation.”
Peter, now 57 and living in Letchworth, added: “When the other boys go zooming up those hills with top of the range bikes and the latest cardiac monitors attached, I’ll be plodding along shaking my head and laughing at the severity of the gradient.
“But have faith in me. I will do this.”
Peter is dedicating his ride to his late parents Ruth and John, who he says would be very proud to see him ride along The Mall, near where the family once lived.
At the end of the ride, he plans to meet up with his ‘lovely wife’ Penny to take a clipper boat down the Thames from Blackfriars to North Greenwich before driving home. You can support Peter by visiting www.justgiving.com and searching for Pete100.
The RideLondon-Surrey 100 is part of a three-day festival of cycling which will also see professional riders complete the same course and a special 46km course for less experienced riders.
The Prudential RideLondon festival was developed by key players in the capital as part of the legacy to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Jo Rowley, an early years child care inspector from Stevenage, will be also getting in the saddle fresh from being appointed as a charity ambassador for the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation.
Founded in 2012, the foundation has one very simple aim – to make sure couples affected by terminal and life-limiting illnesses are able to experience the wedding of their dreams.
Jo became involved in the charity when she met its founder Naomi Thomas – who herself has been battling secondary breast cancer – and organised a competition to offer a free wedding. The two immediately hit it off and became great friends.
They have been involved in a series of fundraising events together and will take on the 46km ride together this weekend.
It’s no easy task for the mother-of-two who has had a series of operations on her back and hips throughout her life and has a number of metal plates stitching her together.
The 45-year-old will be supporting the cause having been named fundraiser of the year for the charity this year.
She said: “I want everyone to know about The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation. As an ambassador I have numerous ideas for raising funds and I will do all I can to help this foundation as long as I can.
“Marriage is something that illness can’t take away and for some of the couples it’s one ray of light in so much darkness.”
To find out more about the charity visit www.weddingwishingwell.org.uk.
To support Jo visit www.justgiving.com and search for Jo Rowley.
Jon Pace from Stevenage has also been trying hard to get in shape for the 100-mile race. So hard in fact that he has written a blog to share his story called blog.fatblokegetsfit.com.
The Hitchin-based accountant says the race is a personal challenge to improve his fitness at the grand old age of 39, but also to raise funds for Anthony Nolan.
The blood cancer charity funds research and helps support families affected by non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a disease which two of his uncles battled.
A father-of-two, Jon has been cycling for about three years and has already completed the London to Brighton challenge in that time.
You can find Jon’s fundraising page by vising www.virginmoneygiving.com and searching for Jon Pace.