Barry Clayton, 67, took on RideLondon 2017 accompanied by his two sons Angus, 33 and Thomas, 35. Together they raised over £3,100 for Beating Bowel Cancer.
Barry has a personal connection to the disease, as he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014, soon after completing RideLondon for the first time. Thanks to the national screening programme, the disease was caught early and he made a full recovery, and in 2017 he was ready to get back on the bike for Beating Bowel Cancer.
A legacy of the London 2012 Olympics, the ride is only in its fifth year but has proven to be one of the most popular events in the cycling calendar. RideLondon – Surrey 100 attracts over 25 000 amateur cyclists, and according to Barry, the atmosphere on the day is exhilarating.
“It is such a privilege to ride through the closed streets of London. You cycle out of the city, crossing the Thames to Hampton Court, then out across Richmond Park, Kingston and into the glorious Surrey countryside. We were intoxicated with the excitement and atmosphere at the finish – my wife and daughter were there to see us finish, having been able to track us.”
The 100 mile ride and especially the infamous Surrey Hills can be challenging, but Barry is convinced the ride is doable by all ages and abilities.
“It is certainly achievable by anyone who sets out on it, but it needs some preparation. Leith Hill proved a little bit of a bottleneck with many riders taking a walk uphill, but Box Hill was much easier to negotiate. We enjoyed the last 20 mile sprint into London, my sons taking it in turns to drag me along in our small peloton.”
The Claytons finished in just under 6 hours, and attended the Beating Bowel Cancer post-ride reception for some much needed TLC: a hot meal, a massage and a chat with fellow cyclists.
“It was lovely being able to meet some of the other cyclists and talk about their motivations for joining the ride. Most people I spoke to had personal or family experience of this often symptomless cancer.”
Barry is thrilled to have completed the ride with his sons by his side: “The organisation of the event is meticulous and the atmosphere of thousands of cyclists assembling at the Olympic Park unforgettable. I was able to celebrate beating bowel cancer after my previous ride, when I didn’t even know I had it.”