A two-wheeled tale you just ‘gotta love’

A health diagnosis forced Andy to change his lifestyle – and in doing so, he discovered a passion for cycling.

Cycling means more to Andy than most – it’s been with him on a rollercoaster ride.

The story began in 2012, when Andy, now 54, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“The scary ‘c’ word… it was a huge shock”, says Andy, now fully recovered. “But I was never going to let it beat me.”

“At the time of my diagnosis, I was overweight and smoking 40 a day. Something had to change if I was going to battle my illness, so I gave up the cigarettes and started running, which I hated!”

Andy bought his first bike – a black Secteur dubbed ‘Nigella’ after the TV chef – in a bid to aid his recovery.

“I got her in April 2013 and embarked on a charity bike ride from Edinburgh to London for Missing People”, Andy adds. “It was so hard, but I completed it in five days and raised over £2,000.”

He wasn’t done there. What followed was a series of huge rides and life achievements with the bike.

“It just clicked – I had my new passion”, says Andy, who runs Kirkhamgates Fisheries.

A year later, he rode from London to Cannes on a fundraising trip. At around 1,000 miles, the journey sounds like a metaphorical mountain – but the best was yet to come.

“The route took us to the top of Mont Ventoux, which is around 6,200 feet high. When I reached the summit, I used social media to propose to my long-term partner Elaine, who was back home in Wakefield.”

“It was one of those moments you never forget, and cycling was a massive part of it.”

“Cycling has completely changed our lives”, says Andy. “It definitely played a big role in helping me overcome cancer and giving me the strength I needed, but it also became a shared passion for me and Elaine.”

“More importantly, we have been able to introduce other people to cycling and change their lives, too.”

Andy and Elaine set up local cycling group Kirkhamgate Crows that today has more than 30 members, and Andy currently raises funds and awareness in and around Yorkshire as part of Team Cystic Fibrosis.

Now Andy is starring in CityConnect’s Rediscover That Cycling Feeling campaign to get even more people pedalling across West Yorkshire.

“Hopefully it inspires others to follow in my footsteps by riding for their health and fitness or just for leisure and pleasure.”

From cancer recovery to an engagement on top of a mountain, there has been one motto with Andy every step of the way.

That motto? “Gotta love cycling”.