Thanks for your interest in me, The Tour 21, but most of all CureLeukaemia.
In July 2022 I rode all 21 stages of the Tour De France Route one week ahead of the professionals. If there is anything you’d like to know please use the Contact Page section, but I hope you find the information below useful.
Why did I enter THE TOUR 21
My ethos is to always try harder, to always try to better myself, to always try and encourage others to release the potential I can see in them. Often we have a lot more about us than we like to believe, all we need someone to provide the motivation to go for something that we think is out of our reach.
That’s how I found myself riding THE TOUR 21. During 2020/21 a friend (Mike Hopkins) invited me to ride with himself, Geoff Thomas and Tim Marshall as they trained for the 2021 event. As the months went by I got to know more about Geoff, more about Cure Leukaemia, and more about the challenge they were undertaking . I was in awe – this was something beyond my reach, but if I could help them prepare then I felt I was doing my bit.
Then the tables were then turned on me, they saw my potential and suggested I apply for the 2022 event – “ME ride 3500km in 3 weeks, I’m 60 later this year” I said. But when I couldn’t believe in myself, they did. How could I refuse, if I did it would go against everything I believed in. So as they were riding their Tour,… I entered for the next.
I was born Rhiwbina , Cardiff, but soon moved to Swansea with my elder brother Hugh and younger sister Lis. My father (John) was a bank manager and promotion took him, my siblings, my mother, Audrey, and I to Hagley, and then Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, where I still live now. Growing up I was always energetic, my mother says I almost rocked myself out a pram once.
As a child my sport was swimming, something I still enjoy today, I was good enough to swim for the county, As I grew older I took up triathlon, but surprisingly my weakest of the 3 disciplines was cycling.
After school I trained as a Nurse, and joined the NHS where I worked for 32 year, finishing my career at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch as a Ward Manager (Sister). I retired in 2016 but still help out a couple of shifts a week at ‘The Alex’ and Droitwich hospitals, especially during the COVID pandemic when I never felt prouder of the career I had chosen.
I live with my partner Andy, he is the one who got me move involved with cycling. He helps to run my cycle club, V-Sprint, and is always there to encourage, advise, fix my bike and make sure I take opportunities when they arise. My son Michael is a keen runner and footballer, and will soon be leaving home, having bought a house with his Girlfriend Mary-Anne. My daughter Lisa followed my lead and also works for the NHS, with partner Dean they live nearby in Redditch with my No 1 fan – Grandson Finley.
My mother still lives in the family home and at 90 still amazes onlookers when she swims her regular 40 lengths at the local swimming pool, (and if given the chance would be out on her bike). My father unfortunately died in 2013, but I know how proud he would have been knowing his daughter took part in THE TOUR 21, and those who knew would would agree he would revel in the opportunity to mention it in one of his speeches.
The one family member I have not mentioned is Simon. Simon is my second child, who after enduring his own battle with Aplastic Anaemia, sadly died at the age of just 3 years old. Aplastic Anaemia is a blood disorder not that dissimilar to Leukaemia, in fact at first diagnosis the doctors thought he may be suffering from Leukaemia
Simon was one of the driving forces behind my taking on of this challenge, I know what it is like to be a mother to a child who is fighting the hardest battle any of us will face, and what it is like when they lose that battle. My riding for Cure Leukaemia gave me an opportunity to repay those Doctors and Nurses who helped Simon, it gave me the opportunity to raise those vital funds to find a cure. Children Simons age are now living because of the steps Cure Leukaemia have already taken, every £1 donated is a step closer to the cure – Imagine what 1,000,000 steps could achieve. Please read Simon’s Story.
Cycling at 60
Retirement has given me the chance to really concentrate on my cycling, I ride most days and enjoy the freedom and experiences it brings. As you ride through the countryside you see things that in a car pass by unnoticed, there is always a new café to try or challenge to overcome.
Cycling has taken me to may places, all over the UK and beyond and given me unique experiences, the bear that ran in front of my bike in Canada; Riding from Venice Beach to Malibu on a tandem; Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; An epic ride around Lake Geneva in one day. Each year I try to get out to Mallorca, it is the ideal location for cycling, the people are so friendly towards cyclists and the roads are smooth and fast with fantastic views.
My Cycle Club, V-Sprint, has over 80 members and it would be hard to find such a diverse group of people anywhere. GP’s, Teachers, Warehouse workers, Chef’s, Business Owners, Engineers, Plumbers, I think we have someone from every walk of life and I am proud to call all of them friends. The club breaks those ‘All Male’ stereotypes and actively encourages women in our sport, it is that support that made riding The Tour 21 easier. On a bike you have to turn the pedals yourself, but you are never alone, there is always support, always a team around you, always wise words to hear and put in to action.
At 60 I am proud of my achievements on a bike, but I have still got more to do, more mountains to climb and more roads to discover. The Tour 21 was my hardest challenge to date, I hope it inspires others, I hope it shows that age is no barrier, nor does it matter if you are a man or a woman, but more than all of this I hope the money we raise for Cure Leukaemia helps others who face much harder challenges.