Sunil is no stranger to the London to Brighton course – 2019 will be his seventh ride from capital to coast. When he’s not conquering London to Brighton, he works as a switch co-ordinator for BT. For Sunil, the 54 mile bike ride is all about the atmosphere on the day – and the memory of his dad.
Everybody’s so friendly, it’s brilliant, and because of that I feel like I want to do the ride again and again.
My father had a heart condition, and that was what kicked me into joining the bike ride. And other members of my family have got some heart issues. High cholesterol is a condition that runs in the family – I have it, and I help to manage it by riding the bike. It was important to me to raise money for the British Heart Foundation – and it helped to keep me fit as well.
2018 was the sixth London to Brighton I’ve done – the first one was in 2012. Everybody’s so friendly, it’s brilliant, and because of that I feel like I want to do the ride again and again. It’s the support along the way – people come out of their houses and high-five you. Just thinking about it has my hairs standing on end! You get the buzz at the start line, all of those people, and then when you get to the end it’s an even bigger buzz.
I get a tear in my eye when I see the signs to Brighton and I know that I’m getting there. In 2012 my father passed away. He was so looking forward to me finishing the London to Brighton – he passed away in March and the ride was in June, and I remember that he was telling his friends ‘my son’s going to do the London to Brighton, he’s going to ride 50 miles’, so that kept me going as well. It means there’s this feeling I get when I’m doing the ride.
This year was the most money I’ve raised because there were a lot of people I was doing it in memory of. There are a lot of people I know who passed away because of heart problems, and it was for them. People come to the finish to welcome you in – friends, extended family, friends of friends.
I always let people at work know that I’m doing the ride. I email round my colleagues and get a lot of support – and I’ve convinced some of them to join me in 2019.
To anyone thinking of doing the ride, I say – it’s not a race, it’s a good day out with comrades. You will get the buzz once you’re on the bike and riding, and once you see the number of people coming out to support you. A lot of people I speak to after the ride say ‘I want to do it next year’. I say, get a bike and start riding – and you’ll find that buzz.
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