In August, RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard embarked on the Welsh leg of his epic ‘RCP Cycle Charter Challenge’ accompanied by a motley crew of Welsh physicians. Dr Gethin R Ellis recounts the journey.
The RCP500 Charter, which was developed to celebrate the anniversary of the RCP and to reaffirm the core values of Physicians, had already made its way around many parts of England wrapped around Bod’s well-travelled bicycle. The journey had already included visits to acute NHS trusts in England and was not only providing physicians with an opportunity to sign the Charter itself and raise the profile of the RCP, but also promoted the RCP’s campaign #medicineisbrilliant, aimed at improving the working lives of physicians, and raised money for ’Physicians for Africa’, a flagship project of the RCP which seeks to improve access to well-trained physicians in east, central and southern Africa.
Over the course of the 2 days of the cycle leg in Wales, which covered a total of around 200km, the Welsh peloton, drawn together by the inspirational ‘Geraint Thomas’ of Welsh medicine, Dr Gareth Llewelyn, provided nutritional support, chat, and local knowledge. Members of the group, some more than others, felt obliged to avoid the most direct, flattest (and indeed the intended) route, but all were keen to ensure that Bod and the Charter arrived safely and on time at Ysbyty Bronglais on day one, and Ysbyty Glangwili on day two of the challenge.
The Welsh weather was typically variable – sunny, wet, windy and cold at various points – and the group had to deal with the inevitable mechanical and physiological challenges that afflict old bikes and old(ish) men; however, the support provided by Jacqui as motivator and provider of doughnuts proved invaluable. The kind welcome provided at both hospitals and the opportunity for Bod and fellow cyclists to meet up with local physicians and local RCP staff was greatly appreciated and rewarding.
Massive ‘llongyfarchiadau’ to Bod who went on to complete the final leg of the challenge in Regent’s Park on September 23rd, completing a total of 2,018 miles. We hope he’ll return to sample the roads of Wales on his bicycle again in the near future; I‘m sure we’ll find some tougher climbs for him next time.
Dr Gethin R Ellis, Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital