Two weeks today, June 15th, Father’s Day, I will be participating in the British Heart Foundation’s Flagship charity event of the year; the London to Brighton (L2B) bike ride. It’ll be a mere 54 mile jaunt from Clapham Common to the Beach in Brighton, and I’m expecting a quiet affair; just me, my little brother and about twenty-five thousand other people.
One of the main reasons for participating is that it will mark the anniversary of my Heart Attack; one year to the day when our lives were momentarily turned upside-down. The fact that I’m not concerned about the physical aspects of the cycle shows how much things have changed since last Father’s Day. It’s amazing what you can achieve with the right motivation and a little hard work (not forgetting the drugs of course!).
I’m so glad that I decided to take up cycling as the mainstay of my fitness regime. I don’t remember there being much conscious thought in it at the time… it just seemed like the right thing to do. As well as getting me in shape, it’s opened up a whole new social dimension, and has re-introduced me to competition without needing to be in competition with anyone but myself.
I am personally aware of several other people that are participating in the event having been impacted in one way or another by Heart Disease. Many people will be there for a fun day out, but there will be a lot of others for whom the journey will be much more significant. I’m sure it’ll be a special day!
Coincidentally, I lived just off Clapham Common (the starting point for the ride) for about five years when I first left University. It always used to play host lots of community and charity events. Generally I’d watch them from afar with a combination of curiosity and (occasionally) a little envy. It’s not without irony that it’s taken 20 years, a move to Aberdeen and a Heart Attack for me to participate in one.
I’m really looking forward to enjoying the occasion with my brother. It’s been years since we did anything like this (if we ever have). I’m also looking forward to participating in a sporting event with him in which we’re on a fairly level playing field… it’s definitely been a long time since that’s been the case! (Not that it’s a race, of course! Don’t worry Mum!)
For those of you who are participating, I’ve included a photo of the 2 of us so you can spot us in the crowd. People say that I’ve got cuter over the years, but I don’t think either of us have changed a bit. You won’t be able to miss us!