William wins big by logging his miles with Love to Ride

William Roberts started cycling again when he changed his job a few years ago. His new employer was happy to pay for train travel, so made sense to start cycling to train station and leave car at home. He spotted Love to Ride through social media, and as he was logging his miles through Strava anyway he decided to sign up. From just cycling to the station and back, he logs 4000 miles on average per year, from just an eight-mile round trip! This has meant he's managed to cut his car journeys drastically. He says, "it shows you also don’t have to be super physically fit to get the miles in - you can build up a lot of miles cycled really easily, with short trips."

Through logging his miles, he won a bike voucher through Love to Ride, worth £600. He was able to get a bike from local bike shop Hargroves, which supports him in his commuter rides. William has continued to travel via train over the pandemic to get to work and has continued to cycle, not just for commuting, but for exercise and enjoyment. Winning the bike made a big difference to being able to do more leisure cycling - using the Hargroves bike to commute frees up his racer bike for leisure rides at the weekend. Beforehand, he would think carefully about bringing his racing bike to the station because he was worried about theft - but having a spare bike reassured him that he could keep cycling even if the commuter bike was stolen.

Recently, he started to wear costumes while he was leisure cycling, in part because he wanted to make people smile. He used to get some negative attitudes from drivers, which he would like to address: "I'm someone who uses lots of forms of transport, I still drive as well as cycle and get the train. I would like to challenge the idea that someone is just a cyclist, just a motorist, or the false idea of a 'road tax' - we're all road users in some way, and often we use the roads in multiple different ways."

Around Christmas time he dressed up as Santa Claus, which got a lot of positive attention from not just children, but adults too! He also chose to ride a colourful bike, almost to encourage people to see cycling as attractive. His adult children have followed the same route and got exciting, colourful bikes - which even inspired some of their friends from university to get bicycles too.

When someone in work asked if he was dressing up to raise money for charity, he says he genuinely hadn't considered it before. Now, he is dressing up as a knight to raise money for charity Prostate Cancer UK, because his father died from the illness. He plans to ride a thousand miles this year as an end goal, in addition to his commuting miles. Typically, he will do leisure rides to Porchester, but has also ridden from Reading when he's gone there for work.

When asked what he loves most about cycling, William says, "I love the freedom, the feeling of escape. You see more of the world passing by on your bike that you don't see in a car, and you can just get to enjoy the moment." He says that he also relishes the physical challenge - especially when he's wearing chainmail, dressed as a knight!

He struggles to describe exactly why he gets enjoyment from being out in the elements; "My wife sometimes wonders why I've got a big smile on my face, when I've just been out in the wind and rain. It feels like it's an achievement, I've just fought the forces of nature - I can't explain why you feel good after being physically knackered, but you just do!"

To people who are new to cycling or thinking about starting, he says, "You haven't ridden for a while, but remember that feeling you had as a kid when you got on your bike? That feeling hasn't changed - it's the same if you get on your bike today."

If you would like to donate to Prostate Cancer UK and help William to reach his funding goal, go to: