In March of this year whilst at work, I was faced with the devastating news that my father-in-law had lost his battle with cancer. In February of 2019, Barry had built my counselling practice, providing me with the premises which would ultimately allow me to become a full time therapist, something I have wanted to do for several years now. I was close to Barry and cannot thank him enough for everything he did for my wife and me. Within a few days I had decided I wanted to do something for him, something which would honour his name, whilst also raising money for a good cause. From there the concept of ‘Biking for Bazza’ was born. Barry had been a keen cyclist so it felt quite fitting that I would undertake a bike ride and would raise money for cancer research in his memory.
After a delay due to the current pandemic, I finally set the date for Saturday 15th August. My route would see me cycle from Lincoln to Newark and then back to my home in Forest Town, which was 44 miles. I had a custom tee-shirt designed with Barry’s picture on the front and set off from Lincoln Cathedral just after 8:30am. Thankfully I had the best of the weather which meant it was clear, but relatively cool, perfect conditions for a long journey. Moving through bike trails, country roads, small villages and even the forest was challenging physically, but I think this was exceeded by the emotional aspect of what I was doing. In an ideal world this would have been a training exercise or a bit of fun with friends, rather than a tribute to a loved one.
Whilst I was reliant on voice guidance from my mobile phone, I still managed to take a wrong turn and end up doing 15 miles on a busy A46, navigating several large roundabouts in the process! Thankfully I was able to push through this and continue the journey home, adding only an extra 2.6 miles to the total. I think what I noticed more than anything was the tranquility (aside from the A46!). This provided me with a great deal of thinking time and much of this was devoted to times I had spent with Barry, laughs we had shared, music we had listened to, and golf we had played together. After about 32 miles, I started to feel physically fatigued. What I didn’t mention was that I only had 2 warm up sessions…the Saturday before and then the following Tuesday (just 4 days before the event). Prior to this I hadn’t been on a bike in over 2 years. It was then the emotional side I think took over and kept me going. I had to keep thinking of why I was doing this, and all the wonderfully kind people who had donated. In addition to this, considering the physical fight that Barry had endured with his illness, I had no reason to complain and so pushed through the fatigue.
The last 5 miles were extremely tough and I think at this point, I was running on emotion only as I headed home. Coasting down the home straight and seeing my family there to greet me was very emotional, particularly my wife, as she was extremely close to her father and I knew she would be feeling it that day. Grief is an extremely difficult emotion to come to terms with and how it is handled can vary from person to person. I work with it a lot in my practice, but it’s very different when I am faced with it on a personal level and it is somebody I have an emotional attachment to. In total we raised just over £1000 including the gift aid. To all the people who sponsored me, thank you so much for donating to such a worthy cause. To my family and friends, your support meant the world to me. Finally to my wife, thank you for arranging the event, I hope I did your Dad proud.