110 miles per day, nine days
Cyclist aims to raise $20,000 for Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre
When they say a man is carrying a spare tyre, they usually don't mean an actual spare tyre.
However it's not unusual for executive Kevin Topple to pull cycle inner tubing, a Co2 cartridge for tyre inflation and cycle tools from his pocket.
The equipment is necessary because Mr Topple is training to take part in the second annual Deloitte Ride Across Britain next month.
He hopes to raise more than $20,000 for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre
and is currently just $5,000 short of his goal. The route will take him from John O'Groats, Scotland the most northern point on mainland Britain to the most southern point, Lands End, England.
More than 600 riders will cycle approximately 110 miles per day for nine days. Mr Topple will be riding with another Bermuda resident, Kevin Miller and he thought there would be a total of five riders from Bermuda taking part in the event.
To prepare for the long and arduous ride he often cycles in the morning and then cycles to and from XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd where he works as vice president of PL Claims.
“I've based my training on hours in the saddle which has averaged about 16 hours each week, half of this during the week and the other half at the weekend,” said Mr Topple. “At about 18mph that equals almost 50 miles a day riding six days each week. I have always biked, probably since I was about 20 years old. I had an office job and I had to do something outside after being stuck inside all day.”
Mr Topple was born in Billericay, Essex and came to Bermuda in 1991 to work in the insurance industry. He started riding for the Winner's Edge team about three years ago, which amused his wife, Shannon.
“My wife thought that was funny because I have been riding in Bermuda for 20 years and no team has ever signed me up,” he said. “Now that I am an old man, suddenly one of the teams want to sign me up. I will be 48 years old when the event starts. That is old for cycling, or for cycling fast anyway.”
Cycling has kept him healthy and fit, he said.
“I can eat and eat and it makes no difference,” he said. “I have trouble putting on weight at the best of times. This will be the first time I have ridden in this event. I think it might be the first and only time. I have done 100 miles in a day before, and I have also done three lots of 80 miles back to back, but I've never done that for nine days. Hopefully, I will see parts of the United Kingdom I have never seen before and meet lots of interesting people.”
To train, Mr Topple gets up at 5am and is out on the bike at 5.30am every morning. He comes home and has breakfast with his wife and son Ryan, nine, and then rides to and from work. He also participates in weekend group rides with other cyclists.
“In the early morning it is very quiet and there is not much around,” he said. “At least by 5.45am it is light out now. In the winter it was awful riding in the dark. I live on Knapton Hill, Smith's so I can cycle around North Shore, go around the back of town and avoid most of the traffic that way. The traffic now is ridiculous. One of the biggest issues, is that with the amount of accidents on the roads these days there is glass all over the roads. Hence, why I have to carry a spare inner tube in my pocket. I often get home and find my tyres full of glass. You have to pull it out so it doesn't go right through. One of the pluses of cycling in Bermuda is that the speed you cycle and the speed of the traffic is almost the same. Most drivers appreciate that and don't have to necessarily pass you.”
He chose Bermuda Cancer & Health as his charity because it is a charity he thinks everyone can associate with due to experiences in life. He has lost two uncles to prostate cancer.
“The fact that the Centre wants to help everyone and provides financial aid to those who need it, that was the major reason I chose it,” he said. “We have had some awesome sponsors. Many people have contributed and some companies have done some matching donations. XL Insurance and Renaissance Re Holdings Ltd made some matching donations. British Airways is sponsoring my ticket.”
The event begins on June 11. Riders are allowed 12 hours to ride each day. Event organisers set up tents at campsites each night for the 600 riders. The organisers also provide mattresses, food and drink and a laundry service every three days.
To make a donation or for more information see http://cancerbm.bermediastaging.com/event-fundraisers/3891.
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