Ride for Jonty

12th August 2018

Nine intrepid cyclists set out for a 217 mile round trip on one of the hottest weekends of the year recently in memory of a young lad who died from meningitis

Ride for Jonty

Here, team member Simon Fowler recounts their exploits, which raised £6,000 towards our vital work.

"At the weekend I and eight other Brixworth Velo (BXV) riders took to our trusty steeds and set off on a charity ride raising money for Meningitis Now in memory of Jonty Jarvis – son of one of our founding members Paul Jarvis. We, the marvellous BXV, decided to ride 217 miles in two days from Brixworth (Northamptonshire) to his grave-site at Ulley (South Yorkshire) and back."

"Jonty died of meningitis on 17 March 2005, aged just 6. He was a lovely, happy-go-lucky little boy who liked riding his bike, trains and football. He was fine one evening, and taken by this dreadful disease the next morning, never regaining consciousness."

"My family has also been affected by meningitis. When my dad was 16 or 17 years old he contracted TB meningitis and was in a coma for four days. After using an experimental drug the doctors saved his life, but the meningitis and drugs made him completely deaf. Due to this horrible disease my dad's dream of joining the Navy were ended, and he has had to live a life in silence ever since. Doctors to this day are shocked that he is still alive as this was a fatal illness."

No time in saying ‘we are in’

"Earlier in the year we all discussed this idea of riding in memory of Jonty and to raise money and awareness for Meningitis Now and all of us took no time in saying ‘we are in’. The route was planned, the finer details were ironed out, the accommodation in Rotherham was sorted, and the fundraising commenced."

"Out of the nine riders only one had ever done back to back tons; for the rest of us this was unknown territory. However, there was no time for nerves and no need for them. After all we were all riding with friends, and we know how much fun that can be."

"On the Thursday and Friday nights our overnight bags were dropped at Castle Jarvis ready to be loaded into the support vehicle. Cath, Paul's wife, and Jo, Cath's sister, would be giving up their weekend and supporting us en route. Keeping ever close just in case we had mechanicals, medicals, crashes, or just needed drink and food."

Got ourselves ready

"Saturday 7.30am was the meeting time, Brixworth Library the meeting point. We had our normal chit-chat and got ourselves ready, and by about 7.50am we were on the ever smooth UK roads (sarcasm, in case you missed it – our roads are pot-holed messes) making our way north. The BXV Jonty Crew consisted of Big G, Clem, Captain, Chopper, Salter, Jon, Hedges, Pep and the main man Jarvis himself."

"Clem had the great idea of taking pictures of every village sign that we rode through. This lasted all of one village when he realised he would never catch the peloton every time he stopped! I don't think he realised how many villages and towns we were riding through."

"We had a welcome tail wind so the miles were starting to be eaten up nicely, although the first section through Northamptonshire and Leicestershire was a hilly rolling affair, which kept the average down a little."

"Our first stop was The Wharf Inn in Hickling, 50 miles in. The support crew, who had been following and meeting us along the route all morning, were already there and in the queue. Kindly they offered to buy us all brunch, an offer you don't give out to hungry cyclists lightly."

Leaving behind the country lanes

"We got on our way and we were soon leaving behind the country lanes and hitting a main A road. We had no choice but to take this route, but to be fair the road was nice and wide and with a cycle lane. We stayed in single file and powered on through this 25 miles section onto the next stop where we met up with some of Paul's northern friends who had cycled out to meet us and then join us on the last 25+ miles."

"We arrived at Ulley, and the burial ground where Jonty was laid to rest, and were greeted by Paul's family. All there to cheer us on and provide us with much-needed nourishment."

"After spending 30 minutes or so here we headed off once again for the final five miles in Rotherham. Paul's family had kindly offered to put us all up for the night."

"By 7.45am next morning we were ready to depart and make our way from whence we came. We said our goodbyes to the Jarvis family, who had provided us with some of the best hospitality ever, and got onto the road once again. We slowly ticked the miles off and we were soon meeting up with the support crew at the first stop of the day, 40+miles into the return leg."

Sun beaming down

"The sun had been beaming down all morning and I think the temperature must have been getting close to 30 degrees by now! Fluids were being consumed at a fast rate today."

"We headed down familiar roads to Melton Mowbray before taking a different route back to Brixworth. We hit Brixworth and Castle Jarvis about 6.00pm. We had done it. 217 miles in two days. For some the total was as high as 250 miles as they had ‘commuted’ to Brixworth and home again."

"What a weekend. Great people. Great hospitality in Rotherham. Great laughs. Great scenery. Great food. Great weather. And most importantly a great amount of money raised for a great charity and cause. I like to think we did his memory proud this weekend."

"There is still time to donate to this very worthy cause. Please visit our fundraising page and donate what you can. Even the smallest of donations can go a long way to supporting the great work they do."

Well done Simon and the team and thanks for the support – we really appreciate it.