Golfers and Cyclists - the common touch?
What do golfers and cyclists have in common? Well, they're people. And they come in all ages and shapes. They love exercise. And they love the open air. Many cyclists love playing golf. And many golfers look forward to a spin on a bike after a round. And after a spin or a round, many enjoy retiring to the bar for a different sort of a round with their chums.
And so it is with Bob Cooper. Sixty-nine years of age, Bob is a senior member of Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club. Although a North Walian by adoption, he remains a Liverpudlian at heart. He was raised with a love of cycling. His father was a leading time trialist in the Liverpool Century cycling club. Bob's career as an Insurance Broker took him far and wide, and for many years he became separated from his cycling roots. But like many who have experienced the chuckling of bike gears along quiet country lanes, the roots ran deep.
It was probably the Criterium Cycle Races in Llandudno Town Centre that provided the spark to get Bob cycling again. Whilst recovering from a hip operation, he joined CTC, and soon became a regular rider with the Wednesday group, which every week for the past seven years has set off from Colwyn Bay prom for a spin along the coast.
Bob has always been a generous spirit. When he discovered a way to share his rekindled love of the bike with helping those less fortunate than himself, he used the opportunity to join a CTC organised ride from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for the Ty Gobaith Children's Hospice.
Bob Cooper (Third from left) with early arrivals for the Wednesday Riders Christmas Dinner ride.
Pedalling 961 miles in 14 days, he raised the princely sum £1000. He was amazed by the kindness and generosity of folk along the way. Near Middlewich in Cheshire he stopped for lunch and a lady came to him to ask if he was raising money for a charity. When told of Ty Gobaith, she went away to return shortly afterwards to hand over a £20 note. In Devon an elderly gentleman gave him £10. 'I think there are many kind-hearted people in this country and when they hear you are doing something for a children's hospice they are anxious to help', says Bob.
Having had his hip resurfaced only a couple of years before, Bob was naturally a little anxious about whether he would be able to stand the pace of the marathon ride. But with experienced CTC leadership, he needn't have worried. Riders were split into small groups, with the younger ones given free rein. The older riders were provided with a timetable to toddle along at a more comfortable pace. Bob found Devon and Cornwall, with its short steep gradients, to be most demanding. They managed only 48 miles on the first day. After that the daily average rose to 70 miles.
Bob is grateful for all who have supported him, not least of all his fellow members of the Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club and CTC
Liverpool Century CC (circa 1952): Bob's father, Alan, is on the back row extreme right. With a useful turn of the pedal his proudest memory was the 321 miles he rode in the 1924 Anfield 24 Hour. Imagine the roads and cycling equipment in those days! No prize for identifying the late and legendary Ossie Dover, the Cyclists' Tricycling Tailor.
For anyone wishing to know more about the wonderful work of Ty Gobaith CLICK here.