On 10 October 2013, I received an email from Gareth Cole, Head of Continuous Improvement at the Seren Group. He had an idea to raise funds for one of Seren’s former employees who has a very rare form of cancer. She is an amazing person with two young sons. Tragically, because of where she lives, she can’t access funding for treatment.
'Let’s cycle from North to South Wales and raise funds for her,' he suggested. And so Cycle4Nik was started! Little did we know then how much this ride would captivate, inspire, unite and bring together so many people from across the whole of Wales. We roped in Sean Davey from UES Energy as we knew he was an excellent cyclist who liked a drink and a laugh... all great qualities for a race planner.
We had our first planning meeting in November where we hoped that maybe we could attract 12 cyclists from within the housing sector to cycle the 200 or so miles from North to South Wales during St David’s Day weekend. We took a stab at wanting to raise £5k for Nik, her treatment and her family. However, this week we have planned the last minute arrangements and we amazingly have 16 full cyclists and 23 cyclists taking part in individual stages. We are already well over the £5k total and hope that money still continues to pour in after the ride.
The hotels have been booked, transport and logistics sorted, Tshirts all printed, and the team has put in a tremendous amount of time and effort training every weekend since the end of December through rain, sleet, snow, gales and yes... sometimes, some sun.
We have been so touched and moved by the response and support of the housing sector. Led by Community Housing Cymru, Seren Group and UES Energy, the team has also been helped on its way by:
North Wales Housing, CT Clwyd, Mid Wales HA, CT Eryri, RCT Homes, Taff HA, Newydd HA, Wales & West HA, Tai Calon and Melin Homes.
The journey to get here has been hard. It’s taken lots of man hours in planning the ride and the fantastic race night to generate more money for the fund, promoting and ensuring that everything is covered.
We’ve had falls, bikes falling apart, loads of punctures, tears, hangovers, tantrums and were all devastated when Tony Clark had to pull out after fracturing his ball joint in his hip with a very bad fall on black ice two weeks before we left. And only on Tuesday, Sean Davey had to pull out due to a serious medical condition. We are all devastated for him and wish him well over the next few months.
However, there have also been massive highs too...
Highlights for me so far include:
1. Receiving all the cyclist’s profiles and finding out what they were most (and least) looking forward to on the ride and why they were cycling for Nik... Truly moving.
2. Writing a personal intro to every one of the cyclists... what an honour.
3. Seeing the race night packed out and feeling the love and support in the room.
4. Training, bonding and being inspired by the other team members.
5. Seeing the money that has been donated online on our go fund me page which has been growing on a daily basis... http://www.gofundme.com/Hope4NikkiCycle
6. And just the feeling of knowing that very soon we are going to be a part of something very special and life changing.
So, as we set off on our journey today, I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of Cycle4Nik of thanking everyone who has made this possible. And to our fellow cyclists, whether you are doing the full route or just the one, you are doing an amazing thing and you are amazing people. Have fun, enjoy every mile, stay safe and whoever gets in first... gets the first round.
Director of Central Services, CHC Group