I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

In 2016 I climbed every single 'Birkett' in the Lake District - all 542 fells over 1,000' within the National Park, including all 214 Wainwrights. I've also done a three-week cycle tour of Tasmania in February 2015 and amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed (my first) ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014), cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014), done a bit of sky-diving and cycled Australia's Great Ocean Road - just before lockdown in 2020.

Altogether I've raised over £120,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 5 September 2021 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

RIP @roadbikedave

What a sad day.  Dave Hargrave from Sunderland died last night. When I heard the news first thing this morning I couldn't believe it.  Here's Dave in Sunderland, the day I met him on my GB Coastal Bike ride - the blog from that day is http://billhoneywell.blogspot.com/2011/06/day-31-seaton-sluice-whitley-bay-to.html

Until April I had never been on Twitter, but thought it might be a good site to make people aware of what I was doing on the big bike ride and keep them updated with progress.

I was soon followed on Twitter by Dave, and his friend Craig Stephenson (@chewbikker) and found his tweets amusing and encouraging in a kind of way.  As I approached the north-east, having battled my way through Scottish gales, Dave tweeted to say he'd try to join me for a few miles.

I didn't expect to see him to be honest - people often promise but don't fulfil, and I'd had the same kind of message before, only to result in a no-show.  On a beautiful Sunday, 12 June, my route was Whitley Bay to Runswick Bay, and for a change I had company - my son Mark, his best man Chris Toop, and James and Jill Alpe from my home town of Clitheroe. A record turn-out.

Good to his word, Dave (with Craig) found us at South Shields, and then cycled with us through Whitburn, his home town of Sunderland (which he knew like the back of his hand and clearly loved), then on to Seaham where we stopped for food and drink at our motorhome. I'll never forget how he loved the fruit cake made by my sister Pat, insisted on sending her a tweet, with a photo, and then asked for the recipe.

Afterwards he kept in touch and we nearly met again on an organised ride from York, but he was delayed at the start and I didn't see him again.

He was so enthusiastic about everything - he loved his bike, his local area, his family, life, everything. I felt like he should be an ambassador for - well, the human race almost - he was clearly such a gentleman.  

All I know so far is that he was cycling home from work in Newcastle to Sunderland yesterday evening, and somewhere in Sunderland he had a sudden heart attack.  I don't think any other vehicle was involved, although early reports spoke of a collision with a bus.  His last tweet was "Just had a pret chocolate pudding. That'll make me good n lean. Aww what the hell eh. I'll ride it off at 6pm." Typical humour from the guy.

Cycling - and the north-east - lost a real gem of a man yesterday. How can I be so close to tears when I write this?  That's the effect Dave must have had on everyone.  My sincere condolences to his wife Hannah and their three young children. RIP fella. Ride safe everyone.