Taking on a cycling challenge was a fitting tribute to our dad

Amy blogs about cycling in memory of her dad, Graham, who sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019.

Amy Bovington
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2 October 2020

After the passing of our beloved dad Graham Bovington in August 2019, we wanted to mark the first anniversary in a special way. Signing up for RideLondon 100 enabled us to both promote awareness and also raise vital funds for pancreatic cancer. This event was due to take place around the anniversary of his passing but we had also completed the London to Brighton bike ride with Dad in 2015, so felt a cycling challenge was a fitting tribute.

After hearing that the RideLondon event was sadly cancelled, we felt more determined than ever to complete 100 miles in his memory. As a family we discussed the best route and decided to make it even more special by passing as many landmarks as we could that played a huge part in Dads life. We started the ride at his place of rest and visited landmarks along the way which included his workplace for 35 years, childhood home and the Emirates Stadium in London; he was a lifelong fan and season ticket holder.

On ride day we were up early and excited to start, we had arranged for our family and friends to wave and cheer us along the way, this helped keep up our spirits and motivation. Our mum Teresa and Uncle Brian, who is Dad’s brother, were invaluable on the day and acted as our very own support car providing vital drinks and snacks.

This year we had a plaque installed at the Emirates Stadium in “celebration corner” for Dad, so this was a very special place for us to have our first “stop”, this was 20 miles into the ride and provided the perfect photo opportunity.

We rode through all weather conditions on the day, and only had a few minor hiccups en-route including one puncture and one fall. No injuries were sustained, just a bruised ego! Having several checkpoints along the way helped to split the ride into what felt like more manageable chunks. It felt great riding all together as a family with our colourful Pancreatic Cancer UK cycling jerseys on, knowing the main reason we signed up was to raise awareness for such a horrible disease, we could not go unnoticed!

Getting closer to the 100 miles, the adrenaline had kicked back in and we felt invincible. There was a welcome party of friends and family as we crossed the finish line, which felt fantastic!

It was a real shame that we were unable to take part in the event alongside thousands of riders this year. However, knowing there were still lots of people taking part in a similar event which was personal to each rider made the day extra special. We are so thankful to everyone who donated and still can’t believe we were able to raise such an incredible amount to help fund vital research and support. We hope that one day there will be an early detection test and better treatment for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, to help try to beat the silent killer and for others to not suffer and die just 8 weeks after diagnosis like our Dad did. Our aim is for no other family to have to experience the same devastation as we did this time last year.”

If you’re inspired by Amy and the rest of Bov’s Team, check out other cycling events you could take on.