Cycling 50 Kms in the middle of the night. You’re kidding, right? Whose daft idea was that? After all I recently turned 70 and am not the fit, lithe guy that I used to be. I haven’t cycled 50 kms in one go since I crossed the Alps on a bike 20 years ago! Surely it’s time to put my feet up and take it easy at my age. Hmm. It seems that’s not the way things are going and I’m now heading up a team of Breathworks cyclists to complete the 50 km Liverpool Charity Nightrider to raise funds for the Breathworks Foundation. 

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I thought I was going to get out of it as I now have a gorgeous new electric bike (I am old after all so I think it’s justified). But Karunatara quickly established that e-bikes were allowed, so there went that excuse.

I feel very lucky that my friends clubbed together to buy me a Club Acid electric mountain bike for my 70th birthday back in February. It has bought so much pleasure into my life. The only thing I miss is company. And this is one of the reasons I let Karunatara talk me into joining the Nightrider where I’ll be joining thousands riding for a wide range of charities. I also feel so grateful for the generosity of my family and friends giving me such a wonderful present and I would like to express that gratitude doing something for others.

So it didn’t take me long to embrace the challenge and I am now really excited about this crazy event. I hope we can raise lots of money to contribute to the bursary pot at Breathworks, helping many more people access our courses and teacher training.

I had the idea of creating The Breathworks Foundation Charity some years ago and I think it was one of my better ideas. Having co-founded Breathworks with Vidyamala and Gary Hennessey back in 2004, we knew first hand how our courses aimed at people with chronic pain and long term illness were often life-changing. But many people with severe chronic pain are unable to work full-time and so have very little money. We found it heartbreaking that the very people who needed the courses were often excluded due to cost, so It didn’t take much to convince Vidyamala and Gary that a Charitable wing was a good idea. We’ve been lucky enough to receive two large donations over the years and have now embarked on much more systematic fundraising under the guidance of Karunatara Green, Head of Development at the Breathworks Foundation.

So I couldn’t really say “no” to the bike ride when it fulfils so many of my values: cycling with friends, giving something back to others, physical exercise, and something of a challenge for a fit but ageing guy. The electric bike only assists, you still have to do a lot of pedalling!

I’m cycling with a team of five: Karen Levin (Partnerships Co-ordinator at Breathworks), Deb Burch and Dave Sims (Vidyamala’s twin sister and her husband) and Vidyapala (Helen Sullivan’s partner - she is Breathworks CEO)