Norfolk family to tackle 100-mile bike ride for blind veterans
1 May 2015 12:48
A family from Norfolk are challenging themselves to cycle 100 miles from London to Surrey for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind ex-service men and women.
Ex-soldier Dave Bickel, 50, and from Attleborough, will tackle the Prudential RideLondon 100 with his daughter Amiee, 22, and her boyfriend Jake Grossman, 22, who is a trooper in the Household Cavalry.
The family decided to fundraise for Blind Veterans UK after reading about soldiers who'd experienced life-changing injuries and meeting a former Royal Engineer who raises money for Blind Veterans UK.
Dave says, "I did a challenge where I wore a blindfold around the house, and it was a bizarre experience. I couldn't see my loved ones and realised I'd hate to lose my sight."
Dave joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1982 and served 23 years seeing active service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. The family will be cycling as a group with three other ex-Royal Engineers.
He says, "I cycle every week and I'm quite focused on it. I don't want to straggle and my goal is to do RideLondon in a good time, under 6 ½ hours, if I can."
Dave took up cycling two years ago to lose weight and stay fit. His daughter and her boyfriend decided to join Dave for RideLondon after seeing him complete the challenge last year.
Amiee says, "Seeing my dad cross the finish line last year was an emotional moment for me. Cycling has become something my whole family does together and we've grown closer because of it."
"I've read about the work Blind Veterans does and the impact it has on individuals and families - it's a fantastic charity to support!"
Jake joined the Household Cavalry at 16, and has taken part in ceremonial duties including Trooping the Colour.
He says, "I know people whose lives have been drastically affected through past and current conflicts and it's reassuring to know that there are organisations, such as Blind Veterans UK out there who can help."
"With my girlfriend's dad being so passionate about helping Forces-orientated charities, I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to ride the London100 on behalf of Blind Veterans UK. What I don't look forward to are the aches and pains that will follow, and being beaten by my girlfriend, of course."
The family goes out riding every week and at weekends. They plan to fundraise for their ride by packing bags in a local supermarket, and with collection tins and boxes in Attleborough town centre.
Blind Veterans UK still has guaranteed places available for the Prudential Ride, which will take place on 2 August 2015. In return, Blind Veterans UK asks you to pay a registration fee of £49 and pledge to raise £500 in sponsorship. If you have secured a place through the ballot, Blind Veterans UK would love you to join their team. All Cyclists receive a free exclusive Blind Veterans UK cycling jersey to wear during the ride.
To sponsor Dave and his teammates as he tackles the Prudential RideLondon in aid of Blind Veterans UK, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/BVUKRideLondon
To join our team or apply for a guaranteed place, please visit: https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/ridelondon