Today I am sharing the story of someone close to me who I admire greatly. It is my father-in-law, Steven Green. He is a colourful and very loud character (and he will laugh at me for saying this!), he has lived an adventurous life that shows no sign of easing up, and now he is embarking on his greatest challenge to date. In just one week’s time, on Monday 13th May 2013, Steve will set off on a 1000 mile cycle ride from Lands’ End in Cornwall, to John O’Groats in Scotland. Accompanied by his cycling companions Tom and Nick, he will travel the length of England and Scotland in the ultimate test of endurance and perseverance.
The ride was initially organised as a charity event, although I am not sure that came to fruition for reasons beyond the cyclists’ control. However, the men decided they would continue with their plan, because they have been bitten by the cycling bug, it keeps them fit, and they enjoy their rides immensely. In 2012 they did the Coast to Coast cycle ride, travelling from St Bees in Cumbria across the width of England to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. In 2011 they cycled from Blackpool Tower in Lancashire to the Macmillan Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent.
What makes this epic cycle ride even more impressive is the fact that in January 2013, Steven was involved in a very serious road traffic accident. It was a quiet Sunday morning, one week before his granddaughter’s second birthday. He set of with his friends from the Cheadle Cycle Club, and they were heading out of town on a routine training ride. Steven had to stop at the roadside to repair a minor issue with his gears. He was hit from behind by a car travelling up the road. The female driver had not cleared her windscreen of frost and never saw the cyclists in front of her. Steven hit the windscreen and was thrown up in the air, landing in the ditch at the side of the road.
Imagine my shock when I received the phone call from my sister-in-law later that day. I was at home with our daughter, and my husband was at work. My sister-in-law briefly told me what had happened and that she was at the local hospital emergency department with her mum and dad. She is a firefighter by profession, and when she received the phone call that Steven had been involved in an accident, she feared the worst, having witnessed things that she would rather not share with us on a personal level.
Steven had suffered extensive injuries, from which he is still recovering. The accident has forced him into early retirement from his job as a professional portrait and wedding photographer. He can no longer walk properly due to the injuries on his right leg, but with a lot of training and physiotherapy, he is able to cycle more easily. He has had to adapt his bike for the purpose, and can never cycle as quickly or effectively as he did before. He suffered injuries all over his body, and one of the worst ones was a fractured jaw. The result of that one is permanent numbness on one side of his face and he has a metal plate in his jaw.
I am writing this post to say well done Steve, I am extremely proud of you for overcoming your challenges, and I cannot wait to see you at the finish line in John O’Groats on 26th May. It goes without saying that your son, Daniel, is also very proud of you, and your granddaughter, Elliot, looks forward to taking her balance bike out with you later in the summer.
*If you would like to see Steven’s story in more detail, read his blog, Cycling Phoenix.*