At Hay Festival last week, I made a discovery courtesy of Stephen Fry. As a bonus to the advertised programme, he had invited James Rhodes, concert pianist, to talk about his controversial new book, Instrumental. If, like me, you’ve been looking for a way in to classical music, Rhodes is your man. He’s charismatic, fearless, brilliant, troubled. He’s determined to smash the stuffy conventions of classical music. Wonderful. However, I have to confess I wasn’t sat there expecting to take lessons from a classical musician to apply to an imminent charity bike ride.
Having said that I could see a few parallels between the perceived inaccessibility of both classical music and road cycling. and, I hope, as cycling event organisers, Threshold Sports take a leaf from James’ book and continue to make our events welcoming, accessible and un-intimidating for anyone half tempted.
In Instrumental there’s a phrase Rhodes uses about his journey out of mental illness, ‘transferring negative energy to positive’. It resonated as I lined up for a two-day endurance challenge from Chatsworth House to Ampleforth School in North Yorkshire. In memory of little Bruno*: 200 riders, 200 miles, 2 days. When Moors Grinton & Strines, Buttertubs and Kidstones are on the menu, you know you are in for it. And, sure enough, the good Lord greeted us with heavy rain and a monstrous head wind as we straggled over the start line.By 25 miles, 11 riders were hypothermic resembling an army of Yodas as they huddled under space blankets in a Dales pub. Take heed thou Deloitte RABers, invest in the rain jacket and layer up. No skimping, no compromise. It was still raining at the 50-mile pit stop in a glamorous truck park on the Bradford & Bingley canal path.
I have always thought charity cycling events are a microcosm of life. Tremendous optimism, good intention, reality checks, adversity, grit, brotherhood, humour, love, solidarity, doggedness, persistence, the overwhelming power of the human spirit and the quiet wisdom of the proud finisher, wind, sun and rain burnt, brimming with quiet contentment.
The second day, despite La Tubs and Grinton Moor (a must go – the YHA lodges look amazing) was altogether more straightforward with glorious sun and a stonking taily. Yorkshire is astonishingly beautiful with cycle friendly, kind people and beautifully presented tea-rooms.
In we rode to Ampleforth School, where the Monks and their charges had lined the entire drive to clap us in. To the Bruno Foundation £522,000, a proper legacy for the little man. Truly transferring negative energy to positive.
If you fancy doing something similar to the Bruno Ride then have a look at our corporate cycling event brochure. We can do anything from one day sportives to multi-day challenges. Perfect for raising some money or simply raising the heart rate.
* Bruno Mycielski passed away at birth. His mum and Dad wanted to do something positive by creating a scholarship fund so that a little boy/girl can attend Ampleforth School in perpetuity.