Suffolk men among ‘Bums on Bikes’ charity cycle team
- Credit: Archant
Two Suffolk men formed part of a six-man team which tackled a gruelling Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride to raise nearly £200,000 for charity.
Will Ridsdill-Smith, a GP at the Woolpit Health Centre, and Charles Mesquita, a charities director from Old Newton, near Stowmarket, cycled more than 1,000 miles in the 12-day adventure.
The team – called ‘Bums on Bikes’ – were riding to fundraise for the charity Bowel & Cancer Research.
Dr Ridsdill-Smith, 49, who regularly cycles three miles from his home in Drinkstone to his surgery in Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, said: “I’ve always been a keen cyclist but it was much harder than I’d imagined.
“It was incredibly hilly in Devon and Cornwall – there were long hours in the saddle and it was definitely hard work.
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“But we were lucky with the weather except when we left Windermere – it was wet, steep and we just had to man up and keep going.”
Mr Mesquita, 53, discovered the joys of long-distance cycling in 2012 when he rode 700 miles with five dads from John O’Groats to his son’s school at Brandeston and raised £50,000 for Bowel & Cancer Research.
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After that, he became a trustee of the charity whose mission it is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer.
There was a hairy incident when he experienced a serious wheel wobble whilst heading downhill at speed towards a lorry – but survived.
“When we got to John O’Groats I lifted my bike and was very tempted to throw it into the sea.” he said.
The team of brave cyclists were taken aback at the generosity of people they met en-route who helped them smash their fundraising target.
“It was overwhelming,” Mr Mesquita said. “People stopped to give us £1 or £1,000. I thought we might raise about £40,000 but to reach nearly £200,000 is incredible. It was a fantastic journey.”
The Bums on Bikes, boasting a combined age of 303, were led by company director and bowel cancer survivor Paul Reynolds, 53, from London.
The challenge marked the 10th anniversary of his diagnosis of stage 3 cancer when he was 42.
Paul took a tumble on day seven and ended up in hospital with a dislocated finger and two broken ribs – but he climbed back into the saddle the next day and carried on.
The other three cyclists were osteopath Doug Tannahill, 33, investment officer Ian Prideaux, 61, from London, and investment specialist Julian Cripps, 54, from Warwickshire.
Deborah Gilbert, chief executive of Bowel & Cancer Research, said: “I am always amazed at the lengths to which people will go when they have a passion for the cause.
“The Bums on Bikes’ feat was one of the most extraordinary and we are hugely grateful. We will use the funds to support the best UK science working towards a day when everyone diagnosed will survive the disease.”
Anyone who wants to support the team can visit www.bumsonbikes.org