Mike Dewey, general manager of the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool city centre, dons his lycra to talk about his passion for cycling
I STARTED cycling four years ago – the main reason for doing so was that it was easier than running.Having taken part in the Liverpool Marathon last year and even Edinburgh Marathon back in my mid-20s, I was always a keen runner, but as I got older, the sport started to put more and more stress on my joints.
In 2008, following much deliberation, I finally took the plunge and decided to buy myself a bike. After choosing the right one and collecting it from the shop, I thought it was about time that I should tell my family.
One evening when we were sat around the dinner table, I told my wife and two sons about my recent purchase. Rather than reassurance or encouragement, the three of them burst into a fit of laughter.
They didn’t actually believe it but yes, I was now the proud owner of a bike.
Since that day, I have used it as my main mode of transport, cycling five days a week, travelling a total of 20 miles a day from my home in West Kirby to the hotel here in North John Street.
It takes me just under half an hour and not only does it reduce the level of stress – in the form of busy trains or car traffic – it has also saved me a lot of money. In fact, I worked out that if I save the money I used to spend on the train fare, I could actually pay my council tax.
In terms of the attire, yes, I do wear lycra – and yes, it isn’t very flattering. However, it’s amazing today the gear that you can purchase, which helps you to keep warm during the colder months. I cycle in all seasons, which means a variety of weather conditions.
The only major problem is that, although I have been riding my bike for a while, I actually don’t know how to repair a puncture. If I ever get one I have to take it to a shop. But that will soon need to change.
Because, in June, I am going to embark on a 293-mile charity bike ride in aid of Hospitality Action. It’s called the London to Paris Extreme Cycle Challenge and it will take me between Tower Bridge in London, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and it is done over three days, with long cycling days of 80- 90 miles.
Why, I hear you ask. Firstly, it is a great personal challenge to complete a trip from London to Paris in three days of cycling and the going is not as flat as many people think.
On a bike, I will feel the wind in my face and get a real chance to explore some beautiful corners of England and France on the way.
People may think I am mad (which I may be) but the charity involved is one that I am very passionate about and the main reason for doing it.
Hospitality Action, the hospitality industry benevolent organisation, offers vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis. The charity supports people suffering from life- altering illnesses such as Parkinson's Disease, cancer and Multiple Sclerosis as well as those experiencing poverty, bereavement and domestic violence and families with sick and disabled children.
All I need now is for people to sponsor me (a subtle hint there).
Doing this ride has meant I have had to increase my level of training, so I will now cycle of a weekend too. I’m going to have to get used to different routes, severe hills and also cycling alongside other people – something I have never had to do.
Fingers crossed I get through it okay and raise enough money for the charity. Oh, and not get a puncture.
To sponsor Mike, visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Michael-Dewey