The History of a Cyclopath

Cyclopath

A person with an obsession for cycling, who cannot control how often they think or talk about cycling and all cycling related matters.

I haven’t always been a Cyclopath. I became one, quite unexpectedly, early in 2017.

I had previously dabbled with cycling. Back in the 90’s, I remember loading our heavy hybrid bikes onto a complicated system of straps and ties on the back of a Nissan Primera and heading to France for our summer holidays. This was a time when cycling meant a 15 mile meander along the quiet backroads of the Loire Valley.

Fast forward to 2009, when, due to a last minute drop out, I joined a team from work and cycled the Coast to Coast to raise money for a local breast cancer charity. We cycled a hard, hilly, 170 miles over three days from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, on a newer hybrid bike. I had tried clipping in but it scared me witless and so I cycled in a very amateur but somewhat enjoyable way.

The following year, with many of the same people, I cycled a less challenging Devon coast to coast from Ilfracombe to Plymouth over two days and even subjected myself to a weekend of cycling in Wales ‘just for the fun’ of it.

In 2012, I used my bike for either end of the commute by train to university in Bristol where I was studying for an MBA. This came to an abrupt end when I left the classroom one dark, wet, November evening to find the remains of my bike lock still attached to the bike rack and my bike, nowhere to be seen.

So, I had dabbled with cycling but would never have considered myself a real cyclist, let alone a ‘Cyclopath’!

But things change, and by January 2017, I was a confirmed and committed Cyclopath. Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in June 2015, I very quickly realised that I needed to take control of my health, so I had began to exercise daily. I began to talk to friends about setting a challenge to ensure my commitment to exercise didn’t wane and to enlist some exercise companions.

In January 2017, 15 friends, colleagues and friends of friends had been persuaded, cajoled and coerced to cycle 500km from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Ankor Wat in Cambodia, over 8 days, in November of the same year, to raise funds for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. Most of us had cycled no more than five miles at a time in the last five years!

We aimed to raise money for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. To do this, we needed a team name for our fundraising page and so The Cyclopaths were born! We set about training, fundraising and these two activities pretty much dominated our lives for the whole of 2017.

We raised over £45,000 for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, for which I was awarded their Alex Flynn Fundraiser of the Year 2017 Award. We had an experience none of us will ever forget, became fitter than we had ever been and for many of us, cycling became more than a means to completing the challenge, it became a way of life, a hobby and quite possibly an obsession.

To read our Vietnam to Cambodia challenge blog, please click here.