July is for warm welcomes, epic rides and heroic efforts

A true hero – ‘Sprocket man’

When the cycling mileage gets into 4 figures (not including decimal places) that’s pretty heroic, right? And with July around the corner and the end of the grand tour season foisted upon us, we’re about to witness the most heroic of all the cycling endeavours, the Tour De France. Right? Whilst the TDF is undeniably heroic and July is most definitely upon us, I’d argue the most heroic thing on two wheels is not taking place on the flatlands of Northern France and the high passes of the French Alps, but passing through Cardiff after winging its way through Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, en-route to London – it goes by the name of ‘The Ride’.

Réka Petaky  is a young mum of three who hails from Hull. Last year she took up cycling with very little training or experience and cycled from the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides to Hull on the banks of the Humber. A distance of 500ish miles. The remarkable thing about this journey – aside from its very respectable distance – is that Réka  was in the middle of ongoing cancer treatment (which she still regularly receives). Keen to prove that living with an acute condition should be no barrier to enjoying life to the full, this year she’ll be doing it all over again on an even grander scale, linking the capital cities from the constituent parts of the UK and Ireland. Réka’s message is simple. Cancer should not stop you from living. She’ll be accompanied by friends, family, supporter and other riders also living with cancer and willing to prove Reka’s point. It’s hard to emphasise what a huge undertaking this is.

Assistance, extra riders and sponsorship are all welcomed and you can find details on the ride website  – http://www.theride.org.uk/ If you’re able to give the riders a warm welcome as they pass through your neighbourhood, they will – and by extension we will! – love you to bits.

Well after ‘dissing’ it in the opening paragraph for the sole reason of a neat segue (sorry TDF organisers). Traditionally for roadies, sports fans and lovers of beautiful scenery, there is definitely the small matter of 2000+ miles of racing that I mentioned in the introduction. This year however, it comes with the lip smacking possibility of a British winner in Bradley Wiggins. The TDF starts with the prologue in Liege tomorrow and concludes on the Champs-Élysées. Do I think he’ll do it? Who knows? I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s in outstanding nick and the Manx missle (Mark Cavendish) will be taking a back seat this year to let him have a crack at the overall title.  It’s certainly possible (and British cyclists tend not to choke like British footballers). From a Welsh perspective, it’s a shame that our own Geraint Thomas  – a Cardiff lad and former Cardiff JIF member – won’t be on show, but who can blame him with the Olympics on home soil? With a bit of luck this summer we’ll get to toast two terrific British wins. Wouldn’t that be nice?

More of the same? Image courtesy of Sky

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