Michael uses pedal power to say thank you to the Maxillofacial Centre

Oct 11, 2019

After extensive and complex surgery for mouth cancer in June 2017, followed by daily radiotherapy on his neck when a couple of lumps were discovered in late November 2017, Michael Reed was determined to finally complete the 100 mile Ride London course to raise vital funds for the Regional Maxillofacial Centre at Northwick Park Hospital.

In his own words he describes this incredible achievement, coming just two years after his surgery.

“Firstly, I managed the full 100 miles – so that is now ticked off! I have so far raised £740 (not including gift aid) for LNWH Charity and the Centre.

A bright and early start (actually a dark and early start), leaving home at 4.10am to drive to Stratford International – just a mile cycling to the start. After dropping off baggage, having more food and drink and a toilet stop I got set up in the load wave around 6am. A slow shuffle to the start lane and then setting off pretty much on the dot at 7.30am - to the sounds of “Bicycle” by Queen over the loudspeakers!

The weather was good for the ride, although perhaps a bit too warm and humid later in the day. No rain, and a gentle breeze with cloud cover stopping it being scorching. Given the bad weather we had the previous few weeks I think we were very fortunate!

The first part of the ride was wonderful, cycling the traffic-free London streets past so many iconic landmarks; the flat terrain meant it was a breeze to cycle quite quickly. Apart from a brief stop to put my chain back on at 5 miles, I didn’t stop again until 21 miles at the top of the first real hill in Richmond Park, followed by toilet/food/water stops at 38, 47, 62 and 74 miles as I can’t manage to eat or drink while actually cycling! I did spend longer than planned at the stops – an hour and 18 minutes in total.

Once on the narrower roads there were a small number of accidents that forced us to stop, go very slow or make way for ambulances or police motorbikes. One accident happened just in front of me late in the ride when a rider hit one of the large cones separating cyclists from traffic, crashing at speed onto the tarmac!

In some places the volume of riders was too much and this got worse as the shorter distance riders – some with children - joined us from the 19 and 46-mile route. This added around an hour to my time which, with my longer food/toilet stops, meant I struggled for energy later on – especially after my stomach rebelled against the energy gels and cereal bars!

Because of my early start, those delays meant I wasn’t forced onto any of the diversions to make way for the professional London Classic race that shares the same route.

I passed people mending punctures or dealing with other mechanical problems at the side of the road, but, fortunately, my steel-framed touring bike with pretty rugged thicker tyres had no problems at all; the recent service was definitely worth it!

I stopped and paused for breath once up Newlands Corner and several times up Leith Hill, but actually rode up them rather than walked!Box Hill was simpler with its zig-zags, just longer to complete.

Supporters lined much of the route, from people in chairs outside their country houses and villages holding fairs and fetes to major street festivals and crowds on London bridges leading, finally, to the Mall, the support and encouragement along the way was fabulous.

There was a fair amount going on at the end in Green Park; I had a bit to eat and drink (although couldn’t manage much), then a slow and relaxing tube and DLR journey back to Stratford with my wife, Amanda, before getting home at 10pm. A welcome soak in the bath was followed by much needed sleep!

My total time, with stops, was 9 hours 22 minutes, which was slower than I had hoped for but it was the finishing that mattered most.

The chance to cycle on a traffic-free route through London (or any major city) is rare and a real privilege, plus the countryside is wonderful, especially in the Surrey Hills. It was a great day and I am glad I finally got to complete the full course.

What I did was just a small token to recognise the amazing work done by the whole team at the Centre and the entire hospital, from the cleaners, catering staff and porters to the nurses, doctors and consultants, in caring for patients like myself.”

Michael Reed

"I stand in admiration of Michael and his tremendous efforts to raise such a substantial sum for the Maxillofacial Department and Surgical Team. Having met the challenges of such significant cancer treatment, including reconstructive surgery and radiotherapy, Michael succeeded in completing the 100 mile challenge. Money raised by Michael’s efforts will go on to help fund surgical research, education and training. This will be of tremendous benefit for patients afflicted with head and neck cancer or requiring facial reconstructive surgery. On behalf of my team of expert maxillofacial surgeons and nurses I would like to thank Michael for his most generous donation."

Mr Bhavin G Visavadia FRCS(OMFS) FRCS(Eng) FDSRCS(Eng)
Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon/Head and Neck Surgeon

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