Friends keep their promise to a dying man

May 28 2019
Friends keep their promise to a dying man

TWO friends have successfully fulfilled a special promise by cycling from Bristol to Bournemouth.

Tony Joiner, formerly of Frampton Cotterell, and Keith Whitehead, from Winterbourne, have become known as the Mac and Dave (MAD) bike riders.

Tony had made a promise to his brother-in-law Hugh ‘Mac’ McLaughlan before he died of prostate cancer. Mac had cycled from Bristol to Bournemouth 35 years earlier, and Tony promised to recreate his ride on the very same bicycle when he reached 80 years old.

Keith was the first to offer to support Tony because his brother Dave had also died from cancer. After that the idea took off, and before he knew it, Tony had a whole group of friends and family going too.

They managed the ride in 12 hours, cycling for 9 hours and taking 7 breaks.

They only had one puncture – from a thumb tack which was found in Tony’s wheel. Keith decided to keep it as a souvenir.

There were some emotional moments during their journey, including a meeting with a woman who approached the cyclists at a junction and wanted to sponsor them as she had lost her mother to cancer.

At the finish, above, the cyclists found a group of friends waiting for them who had driven down from Frampton and Winterbourne, with a home-made finish line that they’d created themselves out of Union Flag bunting.

Tony Joiner said: "The MAD bike ride was a complete success and we are all very proud to have achieved what we set out to do.

We are very close to our target of £5,000 for the four charities that were selected and we are eternally grateful to those who made this possible by sponsoring the various team members. Thank you all very much for your very generous support."

Tony’s daughter Wendy Sue Newton said: "We had an amazing adventure. We started as two families raising money for charities who had supported our loved ones in their hour of need and finished as one amazingly accomplished ‘bike family’.”

Keith Whitehead said: "Well we made it and I would like to thank everyone involved, it's been fun but bloody hard too!"

A drinks reception had been organised at a beach hut in Bournemouth, a few miles from where the ride ended at the pier. Tony, who had just cycled 100 miles aged 80, swung his leg over his bike, and told everyone that they would have to cycle there.

You can donate to the cause here.