The Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge is renowned for being an emotional and inspiring day out for everyone involved. That’s no surprised given the fact that the cyclists consist of patients who have experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand and those who take part in memory of a loved one. Others get involved as part of a team or simply want to challenge themselves and support the Charity in return. In their own words, some of those taking part this year have kindly explained their reasons why.
Darren Avery is taking part in the event for the very first time in 2016. “As a cyclist who heads out into the far reaches of the countryside, I’m only too aware that either I or my companions might one day need the services if the air ambulance. A friend of mine was airlifted off the Mendip Hills after a mountain bike accident and badly injured his leg. I very much appreciate the knowledge that the air ambulance is there if ever we need their help. It’s an honour for me to be able to ride and support them at the same time.”
Bill Sivewright is usually seen behind the scenes helping to organise the event on the day. Last year, he rode to support a friend but this year he is taking part in support of the Charity.“ After coming up with the idea of running the event five years ago, I trailed the route a number of times but for the first few years I was far too heavily involved with the admin to ride on the day. Last year I rode to support Clive Dicken, National Director of the Association of Air Ambulances, however this year I am doing it for the Charity. It’s a fantastic occasion and the atmosphere is incredible. I’m sure it will be an extremely emotional day all round and the aches and pains will definitely be worthwhile.” If you would like to support Bill, you can donate by visiting his JustGiving page.
Brian Ramsay is taking part with his two brothers, Derek and Keith. "In 2009 following a mountain bike accident on the Quantocks, I was airlifted to Musgrove Park Hospital by the air ambulance. I suffered a couple of broken vertebrae in my neck and due to my location (half way down a steep Coombe), the land ambulance couldn't reach me. Thanks to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance's fast response and the staff at Musgrove Park Hospital, I fully recovered and continue to ride my bikes both on and off road. So after 7 years, I decided it was time to repay the debt and raise some money for this worthwhile charity."
Dr. Phil Hyde has been working with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for over three years. Actively involved in pre-hospital care since 2003, Phil also works at Southampton Children’s Hospital as an intensive care consultant. Wanting to play their part, Phil and his wife Hannah, together with their children George (3) and Emily (5) will cycle the 11 mile route on a tandem bike with a tag-along and a front seat.
Andrew will be taking part in the challenge for the second year running. “Last year I entered the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge for the first time. I was going to ride with a friend but unfortunately, he was involved in a serious cycling accident which sadly resulted in his death. Before his accident, we had been discussing what time we thought that we would finish the cycle ride in and agreed that we should complete it in 4 hours. I decided to dedicate my ride to Martin and I finished in just under 4 hours.
“A couple of weeks after last year's Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge, I had an accident whilst riding my bike and broke my hip which resulted in a total hip replacement. It was 21 weeks before I rode my bike again. It's been a long hard struggle to get back to fitness but I'll be more than happy to finish in the same time this year.”
Dave Maynard is taking part for the fourth year. He is cycling in memory of his 25 year old son Anthony (pictured) who lost his life after a road traffic incident. Anthony was on a training ride when he was hit by a van back in 2008. “This year is extra special as my wife Sue is also taking part. I think that’s amazing; a mother who loses her son whilst cycling decides to get on a bike herself and ride in his memory. If that’s not courage, then what is?”