August 25, 2015, by David Greenaway

Nottingham Life Cycle 5: The Vice Chancellor’s Blog

The LC5 Community Day

The timing of this year’s Nottingham Life Cycle Community Day was different, coming between challenges, rather than at the end of one, but the core ingredients were not.

That started with a huge number of riders. More than 500 embarked on one of four challenges: 10, 25, 50 or 75 miles; riders of all ages, and on all kinds of bikes. Although I could have done with taking on the 75 mile course, with our ‘Lochs and Glens’ challenge just two weeks away, I opted for 50 miles to make absolutely sure I was back in good time for speeches!

Being there at the start was a new experience for me. Past years have seen us arrive when pretty well everyone is in. So, it was a real thrill to see so many enthusiastic cyclists at the start line getting ready to set off, and to share their excitement.

Among the riders on the 50 mile challenge were several I completed ‘Way of the Roses’ (from Bridlington to Morecambe) with: David Barsby, Karen Cox, Andy Foote, Nick Miles, Kate Radford, Helen Taylor and Marion Walker; and there were two ‘Lochs and Glens’ (from Inverness to Glasgow) riders, Steve Davenport and Daniel Hallgarten. Three other ‘Way of the Roses’ riders were on the 75 mile challenge: Susan Robinson, Gordon Stoner and Steve Wright.  Pic 1 - LC5 Starting Line

It was great to ride with them again, but equally pleasurable to meet so many new riders. I completed the challenge with Karen Cox, Marion Walker, Andy Foote, Helen Taylor, David Barsby and Daniel Hallgarten. Kate Radford started out with us, sadly however mechanical failure after seven miles finished her day.

The 50 mile circuit took us through University Park, then north-west into Derbyshire; urban cycling through to Heanor, followed by a lovely rural environment, and especially after the first feed station at Denby Cricket Club, hot and hilly.

The route planners had done a good job, it was testing for experienced riders and a stiff challenge for those who had not taken on 50 miles before, especially when the winds got up over the second half.

Pic 2 - LC5 MedalThe circuit was also a very pretty one, with excellent views from the high ground above Belper and beyond, towards Kedleston Hall and Breadsall (where you ride alongside the most demanding of its excellent golf courses). Then it’s back to urban riding through Ilkeston, Stapleford and Wollaton for the final six miles or so.

Having set off at 0900, my group arrived back just before 1400. Quite a few of the 50 milers had returned by then, as well as a number of those who completed 75 miles. Indeed, having set off at 0730, the first of the 75 milers returned at 1115. That is some going, equivalent to 20 mph for the entire route. For the next couple of hours after we got in, cyclists for all distances continued arriving, albeit in ever decreasing numbers.

Although cycling is the anchor to the Community Day it is about much more besides: awareness raising for our chosen cause, community engagement in a shared endeavour, and of course just having fun. All of this is facilitated by an excellent range of attractions and activities, most of which are provided free to support our cause. And it was great to see so many non-cyclists participating and enjoying the day.Pic 3 - Community Day

So, my thanks go to all of those who supported our efforts in this way, as well as to the various University teams who did such a fabulous job in setting things up and delivering a splendid experience for all.

Normally, this would be my final blog of a Life Cycle, but there is still one more major challenge to come: ‘Lochs and Glens’ a 215 mile Sustrans route from Inverness to Glasgow, which fifteen of us will take on over the first weekend in September. The Cairngorms will be a step up in the demands of the terrain, so let’s hope for dry weather and fair winds.

Moreover, we have not yet hit our fundraising target. I was delighted to be able to announce at yesterday’s event that we had passed £200,000. That’s a fantastic effort, but our target is £350,000. Its purpose is to support research on the application of our Nobel Prize winning expertise in MRI to helping diagnosis and Pic 4 - J Saunders, Simon Jerseyearly intervention in dementia. So we still have work to do, and will remain focused in driving that total up.

In signing off, I would like first of all to thank our corporate supporters: Sensodyne, UPP and Simon Jersey (and James Saunders, CEO of Simon Jersey was present yesterday and completed the 25 mile ride). I would also like to thank all of those who cycled, both yesterday and on the ‘Way of the Roses’. These events can only work if we have people who take on challenges, and it is really pleasing that we have had them in record numbers this year.

The last episode of the Nottingham Life Cycle 5 will be ‘Lochs and Glens’ and I will post a final blog on LC5 once that is completed.

Professor Sir David Greenaway



Photography courtesy of Matt Jones and Paul Boast

Posted in Life Cycle 5