The day Friday, the date 1st January 2016, the place St Josephs Rugby Club front bar.
There we sat, The Bear (Alan Bozzola), Itchy (Paul Ring), Paddy (John Mulqueen) and Big Eric (Garry Nyhan), all quite happily quaffing our beer of choice, having just witnessed another depressing Cardiff Blues display, when up pipes Itchy with and i quote “Why don’t we do a charity bike ride from Cardiff to Tenby”. Hilarity ensued, with comments varying from the unrepeatable to “i don’t even like driving that far”! After much badgering from Itchy and more quaffing of beer, we all against our better judgment were convinced to take it on and before we knew it photographs were taken and posted on Facebook under the banner, “ these old farts are cycling from Cardiff to Tenby for charity”!!!.
Before long the numbers began to swell, so now with bikes purchased (most of us had not been on a bike since the days of the Chopper!!), lots of lycra (a particularly unpleasant sight) and plenty of cream (enough said) off we went with approx 5 months to train from zero towards our goal of cycling 115 miles. A motley crew of mainly over 50 year olds made up of ex rugby players from St Josephs, St Peters, St Albans and Old Illtydians, all combined with one goal in mind (apart from getting it done alive) to raise as much money for charity as possible, The Old Farts Cycling Club was born.
We all decided we would particularly like to raise money for local charities that operate in our various communities. We also decided we would not be an official charity and as such everybody that takes part is expected to fund themselves. We had an amazing response from businesses far and wide, you all know who you are, and also an incredible response from family, friends and the public ,plus some very well supported events. So much so we raised £29,000 between us all.
31 Old Farts completed the ride, with the help of the support drivers, Neil Lewis, Ian Tumelty, Peter Spiteri (Pedro), David Dacey, Paul Maunder, Roddy Buckler and Chris Cox (who unfortunately broke his elbow in training). We would also like to thank our travelling physios Mark Bolwell and Sharron Davies and a special thank you to Rhiannon Mullane for taking care of all our Admin, without these people the ride would not have been possible.
The main charities we donated to were-
£6,000.00 Donated to towards a new much needed wheelchair for Catherine Cooper who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease
£6,000.00 Ross Taylor who suffers from Duchenne Dystrophy
£4,000.00 To Thrive on behalf of Mackenzie Foley and his family.
£2,000.00 To Pedal Power that assists people with various disabilities in learning to ride.
We also made various other smaller donations to, Martin Sheehan, Daisy Griffiths, Stroke Society, Ty Hafan, Jacob Abraham Society, Lisa Norman, Boomarang, Emma Chapman, all very worthy causes.
If you have taken the time to read my ramblings, maybe you would like to visit our Facebook page The Old Farts Charity Cycle Club, and make a donation no matter how small please click here to help us with our latest venture from Cardiff to Oxford
The Bear and all the Old Farts.