Retired ‘Bobby’ urges others to join him at RideLondon
A retired police sergeant from Packmoor, near Stoke-on-Trent, is urging over 50s to join him on the Prudential RideLondon, one of the world’s leading cycling events, after he recently secured a charity place for the ride.
The event takes place on Sunday 16th August, 2020, and the 100-mile challenge will test the skills of amateur riders of all ages and ability, on a route made famous by the world’s best cyclists at the London 2012 Olympics.
Steve Marsh, aged 52, isn’t a newcomer to cycling challenges having organised an annual 500-mile charity ride between 2014 and 2019.
Over the last six years Steve, together with a team of former colleagues from Staffordshire Police, has raised a staggering £121,000 for Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Having satisfied his ambitions with rides that have included Blackpool Tower to the Eiffel Tower, Berlin to Brussels, and Land’s End to John O’Groats, Steve has now set his sights on raising money for the charity by completing RideLondon, a closed road challenge that celebrates the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This year’s event will be part of Caudwell Children’s #Team20 celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the charity’s foundation.
Throughout 2020 Caudwell Children is encouraging people to engage with the charity in a number of ways, like taking part in a fundraising event, volunteering for the charity, or raising awareness of the charity’s services, in order to join their #Team20.
“I’m really looking forward to it, particularly the fact that tens of thousands of spectators line the route to cheer on the cyclists,” enthused Steve. “My previous challenges have all been on open roads and despite being in a team they could be solitary experience’s at times.
“So to have so many people watching my every move will be incredible, and I’m sure that it will motivate me to complete the ride.”
Steve says the challenges that he’s completed over recent years has given him the confidence to take on the spectacular Olympic route. As he explained: “The one thing that I’ve learnt is that you don’t have to be a Bradley Wiggins to have an unbelievable cycling experience.
“Many of the riders who joined me in raising money for Caudwell Children over the last six years were far from natural cyclists, many of them were more like hobbyist riders.
“You don’t have to lead from the front to succeed. I’ve often been the bloke at the back but I’ve had the determination and commitment to complete a challenge and if you’ve got that I believe you can complete RideLondon.”
Steve, who joined the police as a 20-year-old PC retired from the force in 2019, and he believes that there are many former service men and women, and retired members of the public, who could join him on the ride.
“The great thing about retirement is that you have more time on your hands!” exclaimed Steve. “I’ve set up my own garden maintenance business to keep myself busy but I try to keep it to just two days a week which gives me the time to train and plan my fundraising.
“It’s great that I now have the luxury of having the time to work and fundraise as when I was in the police it was a struggle fitting in fundraising events around my shifts.
“So I’m urging other retired professionals to take the few remaining Caudwell Children charity places and join me on RideLondon.
“Come along for the ride and help to raise as much money as possible for this incredibly charity.”
Steve, a former student at Cauldon College, in Shelton, worked in the football intelligence, traffic, and fire arms units before retiring as a Sergeant at Leek Police Station.
Married, with a 32-year-old son, Steve says it’s extremely rewarding raising money for Caudwell Children. He said: “Their cause is so compelling as the charity provide invaluable services to disabled children and their families.
“They provide access to the services, equipment, therapies and treatments that children need to lead happy, active and independent lives.
“From powered wheelchairs and pushchairs, to specialist car seats, sports equipment and activity days Caudwell Children transform the lives of disabled children.”
With only 25,000 places available for the ride there were plenty of disappointed cyclists from the 100,000 riders who had entered the official ballot.
Kate Sherwin, from Caudwell Children, says those wishing to secure a place should contact the charity immediately to avoid disappointment. As she explained: “It’s no surprise that this event is so popular as it gives amateur cyclists the opportunity to test themselves on an Olympic course.
“Developed by the Mayor of London in 2013, this will be the eighth edition of the event and its getting bigger and better each year!
“The best action is broadcast live on TV, in the UK and internationally, and is seen by an audience of millions. It’s simply an iconic event, which is why it’s so oversubscribed.
“So for a registration fee of just £25 and a commitment to raise £500 of sponsorship, excluding Gift Aid, you could be triumphantly crossing the finishing line, on The Mall, on the 16th August, 2020.”
To register online visit the web page here or ring 01782 433755
You can find out about other Caudwell Children challenges here.