Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast
Sunday 29th September 2019
SPONSOR: Jenson USA
HOST: Carlton Reid
British pro cyclist Ben Swift
Greater Manchester’s walking and cycling commissioner Chris Boardman
Helen Pidd, The Guardian
Fundraiser Steve Craddock
The Mens’ Elite road race at the World Championships in Harrogate, Yorkshire; plus Chris Boardman’s (latest) helmet controversy.
Interview with Help For Heroes top fundraiser Steve Craddock.
Top pic of Mads Pederson winning the Men Elite World Championships 2019 by SWPix.com.
Carlton Reid 0:13
Welcome to Episode 226 of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast. This show was recorded Sunday 29th of September 2019.
David Bernstein 0:23
The SpokesmenCycling Roundtable Podcast is brought to you by Jensen USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jensenusa.com/thespokesmen.
David Bernstein 0:42
Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at www.theFredcast.com. I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast. For show notes, links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here are the Spokesmen.
Carlton Reid 1:08
Hi there. I’m Carlton Reid, and I’m bringing you this episode of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast shortly after the finish of the men’s elite road race at the world championships in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Excuse the audio but I’m recording just outside the media room, and I’m just about warmed up after today’s race, and I was sheltering in the press tent.
Today’s show is a two-halfer. I’ll start with two bits of audio I grabbed at the world championships, and that’s a swift interview with, OK, Ben Swift. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear his teeth chattering. And I also caught up with Chris Boardman as he came away from the BBC tent. As well as talking about today’s racing, I also asked Chris about his controversial – it really shouldn’t be controversial – his controversial decision not to wear a helmet when cycling on an ordinary bike on telly. For the second half of the show. I’m dropping in a pre-recorded interview with Steve Craddock, an inspirational fundraiser for the Help for Heroes charity, which is still pretty much bicycle based. But first here is Ben Swift, seconds after finishing today’s wet and cold race – by the way, he came 31st out of 46 finishers. And that was about 120 hundred and 30 DNF’s – race was brutal. And he was six and a half minutes behind the new world champion, Denmark’s Mads Pederson.
Ben Swift 2:41
Yeah, definitely it was a really tough day out there. I
think it probably looked quite cool on some of the photos as the flyer
actually got really cold there as well towards the end and you know, when it’s already cold like that, you know, you need to start stripping off getting ready to the finish and stuff but uh, yeah, we gave it out good shot so
Helen Pidd 3:02
Was it hard even by Yorkshire standards as Yorkshireman?
Ben Swift 3:05
Yeah, no, it definitely was, it was cold, I’m pretty freezing now. And no, it’s quite windy in times. And it was a lot of big deep puddles out there, which made it quite quite difficult and this climb here, this finishing circuit, sorry, was was really difficult – with the steep climb is it Old Bank Road or something was? Yeah, that was really hard.
Helen Pidd 3:28
And how does it compare to other world championships races you’ve done?.
Ben Swift 3:34
Er, I think it’s probably the hardest one that I’ve done. And each one’s been a little bit different. You know, Qatar was pan-flat and the crosswinds in pretty warm weather. The thing you had here was really short punchy climbs which in this weather made it really difficult.
What was the support like out on the road?
Ben Swift 3:56
Oh, it was incredible.
I think it was just the atmosphere was building and building on I think it was amazing to so many people in during this sort of like pretty bad weather. So yeah, thanks to that.
Helen Pidd 4:12
Did you think about giving up any point? Hardly any riders finished.
Ben Swift 4:16
You don’t want to, you don’t want to give up, you go until you can’t go no more and that’s pretty much what I did …
Carlton Reid 4:24
One of the other voices you heard asking questions there was Helen Pidd, The Guardian’s north of England correspondent. Because she covers Manchester she does lots of stories with BBC commentator and Greater Manchester’s walking and cycling champion [commissioner] Chris Boardman, who I managed to grab as he finished his BBC stint from the world championiships.
How’s that gonna do for Yorkshire’s PR around the world, a bit of a brutal day wasn’t it?
Chris Boardman 4:48
I think he was dramatic. It was like how we like to refer to it. How we come to refer to it all week. And depends how you want to think of it. I mean, it was dramatic scenes for the whole week. We’ve had a bit of everything but some great racing. It’s not like we haven’t seen rain in a world championship before. I think it’s the first time it’s ever been shortened befoe, I don’t recall it happening before. But ultimately, 250 million people watch this around the world. And it was great. Some surprise results some fantastic sporting achievements.
Carlton Reid 5:16
Because they gave up at the end they didn’t they the peloton they gave up quite quickly, they were so cold coming through talking to them..
Chris Boardman 5:22
Yeah, I mean, World Championships, something like this. It’s always the same … I thought they’d be about 50 finishers, because there’s nothing in it for you. There’s no stage tomorrow. Why would you? And these are vast majority of these are pro riders, they don’t do it just for the honour of. They’ve done that already. But it’s fascinating, the way the tactics worked out, there’s a lot of similarities throughout all the road races where fatigue played as big a part as the form book.
Carlton Reid 5:47
Because of the punchy hill?
Chris Boardman 5:49
There was just no flat. There’s nowhere where you can get I’ll get over this climb, and I’ll sit in the wheels and recover. There’s just nothing. And so it was incredibly hard. But I think it Lizzie Deignan summed it up when she said, ‘I know I’m going to feel awful all day, because you don’t feel good on these roads.’ And I think it’s an advantage, that I’m prepared for that. And she was right.
Carlton Reid 6:10
Cos Ben Swift was through there. And his teeth
Unknown Speaker 6:12
Chris Boardman 6:16
I know what it’s like being that cold, but they barely couldn’t get any words out. And everybody was just completely spent. And it’s a course where there was, something of a cliche, there wasn’t anywhere to hide. You know, you as soon as you’re fatigued, there’s just things that are going to push you out the back and it’s over.
So there you go.
Carlton Reid 6:35
One last word, the helmet thing that’s kicked off again on Twitter
Chris Boardman 6:38
It always will. It’s it’s it’s hard position for me to take. I’m anxious about it every time because if I just conform and do what everyone else does, then I’m promoting something that I don’t – not only do I not believe in – I think it actually does harm. But as you know, it’s a nuanced argument in unintended consequences, we just need to be in a place where you ride a bike in normal clothes, doing normal things. And that’s not seen as a terrible thing. It’s what I want for my kids. And that’s why I’m going to stand up for it. I had conversation with my wife on the phone and just said, ‘I’m gonna have to find a way to do this work without wearing a helmet, but also without having to go and ride a bike or do something else.’ And oddly for her, she said, ‘No, keep doing it. If you actually look at the feed, people are starting to realise it’s not just black and white.’ And it’s really important that we make this look safe. And we’ll save more people if we do that. Um, so that made me do it, stick with it.
Carlton Reid 7:40
Thanks to Chris Boardman there. And now here’s the second half of the show, an online interview I did with Help for Heroes fundraiser and N+1 cyclist Steve Craddock, and we did that interview about a week ago. But before we get into that, I have a two points to raise if I remember rightly, at one point, Steve mentioned Weebles, now Weebles were a 1970s, perhaps 1980s toy which you couldn’t push over because it had a fat base. We also talked about The Likely Lads, a 1970s comedy set in the North East of England.
Hi, Steve. Your nickname is Geordie Steve, but you’re not in Newcastle. I’m in Newcastle. You’re not in Newcastle. Where are you, Steve?
Steve Craddock 8:26
I’m down in Chatham in Kent.
Carlton Reid 8:28
Okay, but the Geordie means you were born in the North East.
Steve Craddock 8:32
Yeah, I’m a Geordie, I was born up in Newcastle. And I lived there from ’57 to ’74. When I joined the army
Carlton Reid 8:40
Likely Lads time.
Steve Craddock 8:42
It was likely the Likely Lads time. Absolutely.
Carlton Reid 8:46
And you joined the army to do what, what was your, what was your original dream about going in? What do you want to become? And then what did you eventually leave as?
Steve Craddock 9:00
Well, I just wanted to get away from Newcastle.
Carlton Reid 9:05
Don’t say that, it’s a lovely place!
Steve Craddock 9:07
It is now. Beautiful now. It wasn’t when I was there.
Carlton Reid 9:17
I joined the Royal Engineers
Steve Craddock 9:18
I spent almost 15 years in the Corps and left as a sergeant.
Carlton Reid 9:27
And I was reading your biography. You’ve got some pretty grisly stuff there about you served in Northern Ireland, and you were basically with the bomb squad.
Steve Craddock 9:37
Not the bomb squad. As a Royal Engineer, party of a search. We would do the search, find any weapons or IEDs [improvised explosive devices] or anything like that. And then that would be handed over to the silly buggers who want to go down there and try and disarm it. So we weren’t bomb squad as such, but we were what’s called search teams.
Carlton Reid 9:59
But reading the biography, you did see some pretty horrible stuff.
Steve Craddock 10:04
Yes. Anybody who really, I did multiple tours in Northern Ireland. One of them was a two year tour. And anybody that served there, during the mid 70s, through to 1990 will have seen some pretty horrendous things. You mean, when a bomb goes off.
And people are caught up in it, it does tend to make a mess of them.
Carlton Reid 10:28
And we’re kind of hoping that we don’t go back to those days at the moment. That’s kind of resonant politically right now. I won’t get into that. But this is a cycling podcast so we’re not talking about your your army career as such, we’re talking about what happened after your army career. So give us a thumbnail sketch of why we’re talking to you on a cycling podcast. So how did cycling change your life?
Steve Craddock 10:57
When I came out the army
I sort of carried on, I did very well in Civvy Street. And I had lots of transferable skills as a as a Royal Engineer in Civvy Street and ended up as a director of a security company, and was doing very well. But there was something that was always in and in my mind something wasn’t quite right. And then I had a real bit of bad news where my brother committed suicide, and it it triggered something inside me. And it fired off a real bout of pretty bad mental health with a lot of what I saw in Northern Ireland and in other places, flashing back into my mind. And it created an awful lot of problems for me. It. Although I was operating, I had a real mental health issue. And which was causing me real problems. And I tried to drown those problems away and alcohol and that sort of stuff. And I ended up getting to about 19 stone [120kg/266 pounds]. Now when you’re only five foot six, and you’re 19 stone and you’re you’re a bit of a Weeble. And I was in a bad bad way. I was diagnosed about 12, 13 years ago with what they called PTSD. It’s just a mental health problem. You know, you call whatever you want to call it.
Carlton Reid 12:21
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Steve Craddock 12:23
At the end of the day …
Carlton Reid 12:24
So this is a common a common thing for ex-squaddies to have, somebody who’s been through some rough things, yeah?
Steve Craddock 12:32
I wouldn’t say. Yeah, lots of lads have problems, can we say? You know, PTSD is it’s a terrible four letters to explain huge amount of different mental health issues. So really, that’s the only way I can put it because it people can understand that. But really, I had a mental health problem. I was in a real physically bad state, which has made me even worse when you remember how well you were and how fit you were when you were in the army. I was in a pretty, pretty low place, pretty low place and Help For Heroes was formed. And I picked up on that and that it was formed by having a bike ride through the battlefields in northern France, and they got 300 people to go and cycle through France as a way of raising funds for Headley Court, which was the army rehabilitation centre near Leatherhead. And I saw this, and I thought ‘do you know, I wouldn’t mind doing that’. And the reason why I said that, to myself, was because I knew that my physical state was making my mental health far worse than it was.
And I thought I’d like to do that. I was too late for that ride.
But I saw that, and I bought, I went out and bought myself a bike, I thought I’m the only one that’s gonna be able to sort myself out. Because at the time there was no real help for veterans with the problems that I had. I bought a bike. And I started riding, it was horrendous. It was really hard. But there was something a bit special about it because suddenly, I was out on my own and I and I was out in the fresh air and I was looking around at things that really I hadn’t seen for a long time. I’d gone past them, but I hadn’t seen them because you were buried up in your own mind and your own problems. The following year, Help For Heroes did another bike ride, which I took part in. It was 350 miles from Normandy to Paris. And it killed me. It absolutely killed me. I couldn’t get up most of the hills and, and everything you know, I mean, the normal climbing thing, but you know, I was still about 18 stone and, but there was something about again I really absolutely loved. And from there, I just started pushing myself on my bike and got into the the normal N+1 thing. And just love bikes. And as I was doing that I found my weight started to come off, my mental health started to improve.
And the harder I pushed myself the better I felt in my mind.
And starting to find where, yes, it was still tough going up hills and you still quite heavy. But it was making me feel better. And maybe the pain in the legs was taken away from some of the pain that I was feeling in my mind. And that went on. I think it’s been, as far as my mental health is concerned, it’s been an absolute saviour, and it’s something I absolutely love doing. It’s just, to me, it’s just the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. And what really gets me is I wish that I’d discovered this years ago, but I was 50 when I discovered cycling, you know, I’m 62 now and I love it. I just can’t think of anything better than belting along the road with the wind in the air and looking out through the beautiful Kent countryside or through Normandy or as I’ve cycled through Burma, I’ve cycled in Zambia, you know I’ve cycling in a lot of places around the world and it just makes me happy.
Carlton Reid 16:31
And your N+1 syndrome that you’ve got there, what did you start with and what have you got now?
Steve Craddock 16:37
I started I bought
I can’t remember what the thing was. It was steel like
and I started enjoying it and I bought myself a special Specialized
cyclo cross bike, which I liked. And then I bought myself a – I was always getting better and better – I bought myself an S-Works Roubaix with Roval wheels and everything.
Carlton Reid 17:03
Oh, OK, you are going N+1 here!
Steve Craddock 17:09
And then I bought myself a Cube mountain bike
to do some off road stuff and really enjoyed that. And then a couple years ago, I bought a Dassi Interceptor Graphene.
Which is just the most beautiful bike in the world.
And I love riding it.
Carlton Reid 17:31
So these are obviously lightweight bikes. Tell me about your weight. So you were 18 stone. Tell me about the progression? How did you lose that weight? And if you don’t mind me asking, where are you now?
Steve Craddock 17:43
I’m now just under 13 stone [82kgs; 182 pounds].
And the progression really was was just and how I did it was really just being a little bit sensible about what you’re eating, and not cutting anything out? And I don’t think not, you know, what’s the point? You know, one of the greatest things on a ride is finishing off and having a pint. And enjoying your food while you’re doing it. And, and just being sensible about what you eat, and enjoying yourself, but just making sure that you get out on the bike. But also, you know, I mean, that doesn’t just, it’s not just bikes, that loses weight, you’ve got to do a bit of resistance training and stuff like that in the gym. And of course, getting fitter on the bike makes it easier for you to go to the gym, although I really detest it. But I use it to develop my muscles and everything. And I find it makes it easier for me to get up the hills. You know, I’m not fast up the hills. But there isn’t a hill, now, that I don’t believe I can’t get up.
Carlton Reid 18:40
When you go out riding, to others or to yourself, do you say I’m going out for a training ride? Or do you say ‘oh, I’m just going out for a ride? How do you consider it?
Steve Craddock 18:52
I just say I’m going out for a ride. And then, you know, I mean, I know what I’ve got to do, there’ll be times where I’ll say right, okay, i’m gonna go for a bimble around. And then I’m going to do a bit of hill training. So I’ll do some hill repeats. I’ve got a nice hill, which is on a military road, it’s very lightly trafficked. It’s about five and a half, six percent average for about 600 metres.
And that’s a cracking one. So I’ll go and do five
repeats of the hill, in a relatively light gear so, I’m spinning, and then I’ll go off, do about 15 mile, come back and I’ll do three or four repeats in a heavy gear. So I do a little bit of weight training on the bike and go off and then other times I’ll just ride and I’ll ride really slowly. And then every hill I’ll hit it as hard as I can. So I make it up as I go along really.
Carlton Reid 19:46
Yeah but you’re thinking about it, you’re not just bimbling along.
Steve Craddock 19:51
If you want to learn how to ride up hills, you’ve got to ride up hills. There’s no substitute for gravity trying to pull your back and you pushing against it. It’s and I’ve been out there with Hot Chilli in the Alps and, and things like that. That killed me, you know mean, they’re proper hills. But you know you it makes you feel good. And next month, I’m off to Portugal, I’m going to cycle the length of Portugal, from north to south, and there’s something like 30,000 feet of climbing on that. So we’ll be doing that in five days. So that’s gonna be good fun.
Carlton Reid 20:31
And you said ‘we’ there? When you ride locally are you just by yourself? Do you go out with people? What do you do?
Steve Craddock 20:40
Most of the time I go out on my own, actually, I really enjoy that. But I set up a group, a cycling group a couple years ago called No One Left Behind. And it’s a Sunday morning group where I encourage anybody, no matter what their weight, what their physical ability or anything is come and join us. And we ride at the pace of the slowest. And one of the things we try and do is to build up their confidence on the road, build up their fitness. And one of the aims is because every year I have my own sportive that I put on, I’ve just had this year’s was the fifth I’ve hard in support of Help For Heroes.
We try and build them on to do that first sportive, it’s only 50 mile, but it’s a massive landmark in a lot of people. And we’ve had probably, on average, about 10, 12 people come. We get regular people come have never been really done anything on a bike before. And we we welcome them and say like, okay, we’re going to go at your pace, and you’re gonna enjoy your ride. And so we just try and make it sure cycling becomes accessible to people and they’re not worried or ‘I can’t keep up with those people,’ you know what you can be like in, in some cycling clubs in and whatever, they get the train going in as much as they say and nobody, you know, nobody, no drop policy, they race off to the next junction and then wait and to have the same person has to keep keeping up and feels bad about themselves. This way, I control the pace at the front, I have a few guys along along the line. And if if if I’m picking it up a bit too fast, or they’re dropping back, I’ll get a shout and I’ll just drop the pace off and so that they enjoy it and feel that they’re part of what we’re doing. And it’s several of those people have not just completed my my sportive, but there’s another ride which I part organise, which is called the Great Kent Cycle Ride, which is a three day tour of Kent.
And we do 70 mile a day.
And several of those people have completed that three day event. And it’s something they wouldn’t have done if they hadn’t joined that group. So it’s really good that you see people, you know, it’s really killed them doing that three day ride. But the smile on their faces at the end, realising you know, I can do it. It’s such a, and I love it because I love seeing that and people come up and saying ‘cheers, mate’. But again, it’s about just making people feel good about themselves. And if you feel good about yourself, you know, it’s likes a lot easier. If you like yourself. And for many years, I didn’t.
Unknown Speaker 23:20
Tell me about. I mean, you’ve raised a stonking great amount for Help For Heroes. So tell us how much you’ve raised over these years.
Unknown Speaker 23:29
£486,000. I’m in my …
Steve Craddock 23:33
My goal to get 14 grand to get to the half million, which is I’m hoping we get this year.
Carlton Reid 23:38
Yeah, that’s that’s, that’s really really impressive. That’s an enormous amount of money to have raised.
Steve Craddock 23:44
You know, I mean, yes, it is, I’m not I’m not trying to decry it or anything but raising that money – and most of that’s been done on a bike, and organised events around that sort of thing – when you see what that money’s been done used for by Help For Heroes to help and support guys who’ve been horrendously injured in Afghan or whatever, or guys have got really bad mental health issues and how Help For Heroes has helped them. My way of recovery was my bike and raising money and knowing that that money is being put to good use. That’s actually it’s been my recovery pathway. I haven’t really asked for help from anybody. It’s been the way that I felt good about myself that I was doing something for somebody else. And at the same time, it was making a difference to my life. So and I could almost say it was selfish, because it was really about me and me getting better. And that’s the way I found it
enabled me to to move on. Not
not. What’s the word?
And just get better. They get it just me get better.
Carlton Reid 25:12
Now that 14,000 that you’ve you’ve got to raise to hit that magic figure looks as though it’ll be pretty easy to reach on your next challenge, which not the Portugal one, but the one where you’re going across Europe. So tell us your your your plans for that in 2020.
Steve Craddock 25:33
Yeah, I have a pal of min – Lee Patmore – who, five years ago never been, first of all, he was medically discharged from the Royal Navy for a pretty severe back injury. And in the time, when he came out, he then developed fibro, fibromyalgia, which is a pretty debilitating
And he because of that, he developed mental health issues and everything and he had contacted me when I did my first Cycle for Heroes, my first sportive the first year and said, ‘Look, I’ve never done anything like this, but I can borrow a handbike, can I come along with you’? And I said, ‘alright, mate’, and he he came along on the day. And I didn’t know he’d never done more than five k’s on this bike. And it was a 60 mile ride. And he got through it. When he told me halfway around it, he never done more than five k’s on a bike before like, and I did not half clip him around the back of their heads like, lucky he had a helmet on. But he got it got through it. And when he went home a couple days later he contactws me and says I want to do Lands End to John o’Groats. I said ‘you’re joking, son’ and you know mean that that’s a big, big challenge. He went, ‘no, I want to do it.’ I said ‘All right. let me think about it, I shall come back to you’. That was a couple years ago when Help For Heroes was in its 10th year. And I thought well, let’s do that. And we’ll do Joh o’Groats to Lands End but we’ll visit all the Help For Heroes recovery centres en route. And the following year we did it and we actually rode 1400 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, visiting down the northeast coast of the UK and and down to Chatham in Kent and then whatever. So we did 1400 miles and the last year I took him on an 800 mile ride. And and so this year or for next year, I’m looking for challenges to do. And there’s a cycle route called the Eurovelo Six. And it goes from Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast of France to can’t remember the name of the town but to the Black Sea and it passes through nine European countries. And I thought
That’s the one, Constan?a. On the Black Sea coast of Romania.
Carlton Reid 27:59
Is it Constanta?
Steve Craddock 28:02
Constanta, like. [Laughs]
I thought, you know, I mean, that’s already fully sign posted. It takes us on quiet roads, and on cycle paths and everything. And for Lee, couldn’t take him up in the Alps. So it’s relatively flat, but it means we’ve got a we’re going to do it in 22 days, it’s, it’s 2175 miles long. I’m going to do it in 22 days, so about 100 mile a day. And we’re going to go and ride it. And
Carlton Reid 28:35
How is the riding between you too, because a hand cycle and an ordinary bike, they’re different machines clearly? And different speeds? Yeah, how do you cope with with the differentials there?
Steve Craddock 28:50
Well, on the flat, once, once he gets this thing up to speed, because he’s so low down, he’s got very little wind resistance. And they move. They really shift. And if you go on a downhill, you know, they fly. When we were coming out of Scotland, out of Glen, not Glen Shee that’s in Northern Ireland, but I can’t remember. But he was hitting 50, 55 mile an hour. And once I get over 40, 45 mile an hour, then I’m starting to panic a little bit. So I can’t keep up with him downhill. And then when he hits the flat, he just maintains that speed, and I’m having to chase him down. When he hits a hill, then he slows down, gravity really pulls on him. But on the flat we can we can bowl along and I’ve said to him ‘look what we got to do, we will look at riding 8 hours a day, at about 12 and a half miles an hour average. For the first few days, let’s see how we get on. If we can pick up the pace a little bit, we’ll do that. But we really aiming to say we’re gonna be in the saddle every day for 22 days for 8 hours. That’s what we’re going to do. And if we can stick to 12 and half, 13 mile an hour, we should be flying. I mean, the real difficulty of that challenge is not 100 mile and then next day hundred mile it’s 6 days down the line, a 100 miles. Remember, he’s using his arms to power his bike. But you know, it’s a challenge to what’s the point of doing the challenge of is not going to push you? And it looks absolutely beautiful, the cities in the area we’re going through. Looks absolutely gorgeous. We have a support group, two guys. Yeah, it looks absolutely gorgeous.
Carlton Reid 30:31
Yeah, Budapest, Vienna. Yeah, looks lovely, does’t it? Lots of I can see.
I mean, you’re basically going through a lot of river valleys there.
Steve Craddock 30:41
We go along the Loire.
Carlton Reid 30:42
You look so you get to the
Steve Craddock 30:44
Yeah. And we end up but we will go through the Danube and whatever. So it literally is following the river valleys. And it to me it just seems you know, I mean, the challenge isn’t isn’t, you know, mean, it’s not a massively hilly route. I mean, it’s a getting on a bike every day for 22 days. And seeing how Lee’s body manages. So yeah, we’re callng it the 2020 Challenge, or Cycle2Recovery.
Carlton Reid 31:10
That’s in May, is it?
Steve Craddock 31:13
Two thousand and twenty miles in 2020, two veterans cycling to raise £20,020 for Help For Heroes.
Carlton Reid 31:26
And I believe Steve, I believe you’re the biggest fundraiser for Help For Heroes.
Steve Craddock 31:33
Individual, yeah, individual fundraiser. Yeah, in in the charity’s history. But it’s because it’s been it’s been, it’s what really what made me better. You know, that’s simple fact. It just made me, that’s been my recovery. And I will continue doing it. Because I enjoy raising money for them. I enjoy my cycling. I enjoy putting events on. In fact, in on the first of November, I’ve got Mark Beaumont, you know, Mark Beaumont, who broke the world record for cycling around the world in 78 days and 14 hours. And I’ve got him down here to do a talk on that ride. And the other things he’s done like the World Penny Farthing Record and cycling the length of Africa, world record holder. So he’s gonna come down and that’s another event in in support of Help For Heroes. So he’s going to come and do that, which is excellent, he’s also agreed to be one of the patrons of the ride. And along with Dame Kelly Holmes, our double Olympic gold medal, middle distance runner. So yeah, it’s we’re just trying to push it so we can get beyond the £14,000 and hit the half million.
Carlton Reid 32:46
And what does Help For Heroes? What does that do with all that cash? Describe its work.
Steve Craddock 32:51
Its work is based around recovery.
When a guy comes back from a war zone, or an accident, while he’s serving, or whatever, and he severely injured, maybe an amputee or he’s got a crush injury or whatever, the first thing they’ve got to do is rehabilitation. And they go to the defence rehabilitation centre, there’s a new one, I can’t remember where it is, but it’s somewhere in the Midlands. And where they are, if they’ve got to use prosthetics, they’re shown how to use the prosthetics get fitter, and stronger. So that they can operate with prosthetics, because if you’re, if you’ve been your legs come off above the knee, you’ve got to learn a different way of walking. So they have to get fit and going to so that’s rehabilitation, Help For Heroes comes in on the recovery pathway. Because once that’s been done, and you you you’re walking again or you’re operating, we’ve got a huge amount of problems, from there, recovering from the mental trauma, and everything that goes with being severely injured or having mental injuries because of what you’ve seen. So Help For Heroes is there to support guys through that, that pathway. And one of the big things they do is sports recovery. Because they’ve found that if you can get people stronger and fitter, they feel better if you get them cycling, and cycling with other people because sometimes some of these guys can feel quite isolated. If they’re cycling, and these are girls as well like it when I say guys I do mean guys and girls, it’s not just the blokes, but they feel better about themselves and they’re sharing their experiences, some may need some education or other courses that will help them with move through into Civvy Street and whatever but that money is spent at our four recovery centres where guys and girls can go to their run courses and everything like that to enable them in their future lives which the vast majority will be out of the military to be able to move over the light and live a full and productive and healthy life.
Carlton Reid 34:57
See it is a charity that I know about – my dad was actually he was pensioned out of the army in the 1950s. He was there he was actually stationed in Germany, this is after the war, obviously. And and he was blown up in a in a gas station, in a petrol station explosion when he was driving a petrol tanker and he survived but he was in hospital for many, many months with with serious burns. And now obviously Help For Heroes didn’t exist back then but he’s been through that rehabilitation process when it wasn’t quite as as formal and as you know, helped with Help For Heroes right now. So you know, he’s very aware of that, that charity and the cycling angling for me, I’m very aware of the charity.
Steve Craddock 35:52
There are many sports that that Help For Heroes use to enable people to recover from their physical and mental injuries. But cycling’s been one of the biggest one. Of course, that’s our our premier event of the year is the Big Battlefield Bike Ride where we cycle through the battlefields of France and Belgium. And you know, mean, earlier on this year, just after I’d come back from cycling from Lusaka to Victoria Falls, we did this year’s Big Battlefield Bike Ride. And that again with this year was Normandy to Paris. And so Help For Heroes has built up over the years this thing of cycling in it and so many guys have taken up on it, because it’s relatively easy to get into, you don’t need a massively lightweight bike, you just need something that’s decent, that you can get out on and you can ride. And the beauty of it is is because you’re outside you’re moving your body, you’re talking to people, you know, you’re you can just go out and enjoy being out in the fresh air. And I think a load of what cycling is about is it is that, it’s being out in the fresh air and hearing and listening and smelling different things and that sort of thing. It’s more than just riding the bike and getting fit. It gives you so much more. And you know to me, you know, I average even if I’m pushing it harder, I might average 15 mile an hour. So I’m no fast bloke or anything, but I don’t care. I don’t care. I love cycling. And I just try and encourage as many people as possible to come along in and join us and get the benefit of what cycling is given to me.
Carlton Reid 37:41
Thanks to Steve Craddock there. He can be found on twitter at Cycle2 recovery, which is ‘cycle’ two the number two to recovery. And he has a justgiving page which I will place in the shownotes which, as always, can be found at www.the-spokesmen.com. Thanks for listening to today’s show. The next one will be out in a week or so and features the Bartali 180, a new long-distance, one-day bike ride. Meanwhile, get out there and ride.