This year, Rob will go from cycling to work, dodging London buses, to conquering the Surrey hills – and he'll be riding in memory of his grandmother, June, who passed away last year with vascular dementia.
“Towards the end of 2017, my grandmother found out she had vascular dementia. Over the last 10 years or so she’d had a series of mini-strokes. She was largely fine, but then she had a significantly bigger stroke, which caused a massive change. Within an hour she went from being OK living on her own, going out to visit family and friends, to not being able to look after herself, and not really knowing who she was. It was like a switch – and it was very cruel. She went into hospital quickly, and her condition deteriorated from that point.
She was 81 when she passed away, which is not a terrible age, but for us it was the speed with which she went.
In the three months after she passed away, I started formulating the idea to do Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100. And then I was actually in London on the day of the event last year, and I saw it all happening. It clicked for me that it might be a good idea.
I already cycle to work every day, and I’ve been adding distance on to that, and going on some longer rides at the weekends. I’ll be doing it on my own – apart from all of the other riders! My other half will be waiting near Buckingham Palace, where it finishes, and my parents live near Box Hill so I can meet them there. I know quite a lot of the roads because I’ve cycled to my parents’ house before, so I’m well acquainted with the Surrey hills – though not on a ride of this length.
I’m going to talk to family and friends about how I’m doing this to raise money for the BHF, and I’m sure they’ll be keen to give their support. I’ve also come up with a plan to get my colleagues involved. I’m going to do a Parkrun every Saturday morning, and run a sweepstake, getting people to bet on my time – they put money in, and half goes to the BHF, half towards the sweepstake, with the closest person taking home the cash.
I’m really looking forward to the ride, though it still feels quite strange. At the moment when I wake up in the morning and it’s freezing or raining, it’s hard to imagine doing that route on a (hopefully) sunny summer’s day!"
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, affecting around 150,000 people in the UK.