A 37-year-old bike mechanic is taking to the pedals again, after putting plans to cycle around the world on hold to support his mum following a stroke 10 years ago.
Daniel Smith is one of around 40 islanders who has signed up for a 350-mile ride across four countries in aid of the Stroke Association.
He will be embarking on the London-to-Amsterdam ride this September and has pledged to help other riders get ready for the big day, by servicing their bikes and giving them on-road cycling lessons.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” says Daniel, who is hoping to raise £1,700 for the charity.
Pictured: The 350-mile ride will end in Amsterdam.
The 350-mile ride comes 10 years after he was due to embark on a cycle around the world. “I had always romantically wanted to do it. I had everything ready - my bike was ready, I had saved my money,” Daniel recalls.
But he had to put his plans on hold to help support his mum after she had a stroke at the age of 49. “I was commuting at the weekend to go see her. I had to buy a car and I ran my savings down to zero.”
“Part of a person dies when they have a stroke. It really affects the person," he explains.
My mum, she’s more preoccupied now. After her stroke, she came up to Lancaster in 2013. I added a tag-along bike to mine - the adult version - and we went on a bike ride to Heysham, along the canal and the sea front. She said it was the first time she felt normal again.”
Pictured: Danny met his wife at a music festival in Devon seven years ago.
Originally from Lancaster, Daniel moved to the island six years ago after meeting a ‘Jersey girl’ at a musical festival in Devon. The couple has since married and Daniel became a stepfather of two.
“My wife told me about the ride she said it looked like something I would be interested in. I attended the meeting about the ride and they answered all our questions really so I decided to go ahead and do it,” Daniel says.
“My mum was out of the hospital for her 50th birthday. She’s going to be 60 in June, which is another reason I wanted to do the ride. She was pleased for me when I told her.”
A bike mechanic and on-road instructor – he runs Re-Cycles, a bicycle recycling shop, from home – Daniel also works part-time for Acorn as a van driver. This, he admits, doesn’t leave much time for training, yet he still manages to clock in at least 36 miles a week by riding to work three days a week. At the weekends, he also tries to get out for at least four hours.
Pictured: 'Bruno' - the bike Danny has had since he was 18 - will carry him from London to Amsterdam.
“I used to be an every-day cyclist, but I’ve never done more than 60 miles in a day,” Daniel adds.
For the ride, Daniel will be taking 'Bruno' - the bike he got when he was 18 and hoped to take with him around the world.
While he’s all ready to go, he has promised to help other riders gear up ahead of the big day.
“I’m an on-road instructor, so I’ve offered to give people lessons if they are not sure how to cycle on the road. I’ve also offered to check their bikes and show them how to do basic repairs. I might take a fee for it, but it will be all for charity.”
Pictured: The route for the 350-mile ride.
Daniel hopes more people will sign up for the ride to help raise funds for the Stroke Association. With “an interesting story, good people and beautiful scenery”, he says they shouldn’t be too hard to convince.
“It’s not going to be head down. The first day is the only one we have a restriction otherwise it will be such a relaxed pace that novice riders can do it. There is enough time to find out about the ride before it happens.”
While Daniel has no interest in finishing the ride first, he is hoping to achieve a big milestone during the trip. “We will be doing 93 miles on one of the days. I’ve never hit 100 miles in a day so my plan is to get to the end of the day, turn around and do more so that I get to 100. They call it a century ride.”
If you would like to sign up for the ride, then click here.
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