Ray’s on his way to pedal 2,000 miles
SEPTUAGENARIAN SETS OFF ON EPIC RIDE IN AUSTRALIA TO RAISE CASH FOR HAREFIELD TRANSPLANT APPEAL
HOPING that 2,000 miles will roll under his feet, Ray Duffy is taking on his biggest cycle challenge to date. All in honour of the hospital that cared for him and his wife.
Today (Wednesday), 73-year-old Ray Duffy sets off on his epic solo ride across Australia. Cycling from western Australia to the south, his route is going to take him from Perth to Margaret River, onto Albany, through Esperance and Noresman, and finally into Adelaide. A route a little different to those around his home of Rickmansworth.
Expecting the ride to take four to five weeks, travelling 60 to 70 miles a day, it’s the biggest challenge Duffy has embarked on, despite his varied career.
“I cycled with my wife this year, when we cycled from Royal Brompton Hospital to Harefield Hospital, along the Grand Union Canal. I did that the year before; that’s 26 miles, and this year I did it, but I wasn’t official. I cycled with my wife to encourage her to come along. But 26 miles isn’t 2,000 miles”.
Although, he’s not setting out on this marathon just to gain the upper hand on his wife, Sue’s success.
In an effort to give something back to the “remarkable place” that has extended the lives of both him and his wife, Duffy’s aim is to raise £1000 for Harefield Transplant Appeal.
Having collapsed in 2013, Harefield hospital treated both issues with his heart, and his lung cancer. For Sue, a successful cardiac ablation has allowed her to continue living an active life alongside her husband.
The Australian link stems from the historical founding of the hospital. The Australian-born Billyard Leakes family donated Harefield Park to the Australian government in 1915; it was to be used as a place of temporary refugee and healing for injured Australians and New Zealanders during the First World War.
Following this, it was sold to the Middlesex County Council, where since it has been used for tuberculosis treatment, and more recently, heart and lung care.
Hoping to begin at dawn each day, Duffy is expecting a series of challenges to roll in. Camping on the route will have its own issues, but his focus falls on the movement. He sees himself “like a bird migrating”, having to take weather and winds into account. Although, having travelled the world before, he knows what to expect, and he knows that with any challenge, he just has to “ride it out”.
Ray gets in some practise before heading Down Under for a 2,000-mile solo ride