At Ride Bikes Wales we are fortunate to meet many people, of all ages and from all walks of life, with the one thing they have in common being a love of cycling.
A number of events took place over the weekend- we take a a moment to reflect and take a closer look at some of the inpirational people taking part...
Perhaps the most high profile event this weekend was the Wales Velothon, with around 14,000 cyclists taking part in this 140km closed road sportive.
For one local team of riders, however, there was a key person missing. Many of you will be aware of the loss of Stuart Bates and his son Fraser in a tragic road accident before Christmas. People who knew Stuart are still struggling to come to terms with this. He was a regular face at RBW and did great deal to help fundraise for local charity '2 Wish Upon a Star'.
So what's 2 Wish?
'2 Wish' was founded in 2012 by Rhian Burke while she was dealing with her own loss of her little boy George and husband Paul in the same week. The charity aims to support suddenly bereaved parents at the most difficult time of their lives.
Each year since then, there has been a charity bike ride in May-June between Taunton and Miskin followed by a cricket match. 'Wickets and Wheels', as it is known, is a very popular event and has had much farther- reaching effects apart from raising money for '2 Wish'. Participants don't just meet on the day but train together in the months leading up to the event, with the more experienced cyclists supporting those just starting out.
Many Wickets and Wheelers say that they feel part of a 'family', that it is more than just a sponsored event. It has got more people interested in cycling for fun and fitness, and created lasting friendships. With his can-do attitude and encouraging personality, it is no wonder then that everyone felt the loss of Stuart, as they would a person in their extended family.
Before his passing, he encouraged all those interested in taking part in the Velothon to raise awareness for '2 Wish', by wearing their Wickets and Wheels cycling tops, creating a sea of blue going through the city. On Sunday, Beth and Stu from RBW took part in the Velothon all in blue and were pleased to spot many other '2 Wish' tops along the way.
For more information on 2 Wish see: http://www.2wishuponastar.org/
Another heroic thing came out of the tragic events of last Christmas. Fraser 'Bear' Bates was able to save at least four people's lives though donating his organs. His mother, Anna Louise, felt strong enough to make this decision as they had only recently had the conversation about organ donation as a family and she knew that's what both Stuart and Fraser would have wanted. It was such a brave decison to make and it made all the difference to those families waiting for a transplant.
Now Anna has set up a new charity of her own, called 'Believe- Organ Donor Support' which aims to raise public awareness of organ donation, encourage people to have the conversation about organ donation provide advice and support to people who have decided to be donors and their families. Even with the new 'opt-out' system in Wales families can veto a decision to donate organs of a loved one, but they are much more likely to comply with their loved ones wishes if they can remember a conversation they had with them.
Anna along with a few 'Believers' did the distance of the Velothon on a turbo trainer this Sunday to raise awareness for her cause. This is a very difficult thing to do- there's no freewheeling going on on a turbo!
I am sure Anna would appreciate any donation to the Believe cause and would also urge you have that conversation about organ donation with your loved ones and friends. It may make all the difference....
For more information on Believe and how you can donate see: http://www.believe-ods.org.uk/
RBW was pleased to provide mechanical support at Aim2Tri Porthcawl Triathlon which also took place this weekend.
Participants took part in a 1500m Open Water Swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
One of those taking part was Mike 'Evsy' Evans- another familiar face at RBW. Mike is another person who inspires those around him. Mike is a well respected local police officer and 10 x Ironman Finisher. Here he is on the marathon leg of Ironman Wales in Tenby...
This February, at the peak of his fitness, Mike was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. The cancer is at Stage 4 and Mike and his family do not know how long they have to find a cure. Since February, Mike has undergone complicated surgery to remove most of the tumour and has just completed an intensive course of chemo and radiotherapy. The treatments are tough and have had a huge impact on Mike affecting his hearing, balance and memory.
Despite this, Mike and his team successfully completed the triathlon this Sunday and, together with his daughter Lily, he has raised over £12,000 for Velindre Cancer Centre's Brain Tumuor Research Fund.The first place finisher and a number of other placed althletes also donated their prize money to Velindre- Amazing!
See the #TeamEvsy fundraising page on JustGiving if you would like to donate.
There are so many more people we meet on an everyday basis here at RBW who inspire us but we felt moved to share about these people this week!
If you have an inspiring cycling story to share, let us know!