Graham Farmer, 51 from Winchester signed up to take part in Prudential RideLondon-Surrey in August – here’s what made him decide to get on his bike…
“I signed up to cycle on behalf of Prevent Breast Cancer in the Prudential RideLondon just after midnight on a very tough New Year’s Eve. I was taking care of my wife, Alison, who had been fighting breast cancer for about four years before it spread throughout her body and, finally, to her brain.
“Cycling had become my respite; my time was split between looking after Alison and our two children, and running a business with four members of staff. It allowed me to have some time to myself and clear my head. Having RideLondon on the horizon gave me something to look forward to – I’d never done anything like it before. Riding through the closed streets of London sounded like an incredible opportunity, so it gave me something to focus on.
“I found out about Prevent Breast Cancer when I was looking through the RideLondon website. I already knew that I wanted to guarantee a place on the ride and raise money for charity, and given everything that Alison had been through, it made complete sense to support it. Prevent carries out such fantastic work, and I knew that if I could stop another family going through what we went through, it would all be worth it.
“Sadly, Alison didn’t see me complete the ride – she passed away at the beginning of March. When the day of RideLondon came along, I experienced so many different emotions. I was nervous as I had never done anything like it before – I worried about everything from getting to the right starting location in time to worrying that I wouldn’t be able to finish it. After a while, the excitement started to kick in and I started to focus more on reaching the finish line, getting my medal and seeing my family who had come to support me.
“I had the biggest smile on my face for the entire ride. It’s almost impossible to put into words how I felt when I crossed the finish line – as soon as it dawned on me that I had done it, I felt a huge wave of emotion crashing over me. I could have cried, which is so unlike me. I remember thinking that I hoped Alison would have been proud of me, and wished she had been there to see me.
“My advice to anyone who’s going through what I went through would be to get as much support as possible and don’t be afraid of asking for help. Looking after yourself and spending time alone isn’t selfish – you need to do it in order to be able to help other people.
“The whole experience really did help me. It gave me something to focus on and look forward to during a very dark period of my life – the event was amazing and the atmosphere was incredible. I would recommend RideLondon to anyone and can’t wait to do it again next year.”
If you’d like to take part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey in 2020, here’s how you can sign up.