A Red Cross first aid trainer will this weekend set off on a 2,300 recumbent tricycle ride around Britain, but he won’t be riding solo – instead, 68-year-old Dave Silcock will be accompanied on his travels by ‘Annie,’ a first aid mannequin, so he can demonstrate life-saving CPR techniques to people he meets on his journey.
Starting this Sunday 4 July, the former nurse from Southville, Bristol, will be pedalling from Bristol to Land’s End, from where he’ll head to John O’Groats before turning round to head back to his starting point – a LEJOG sandwiched between slices of a JOGLE, if you catch our drift.
Dave, who is a full-time first aid trainer at the Red Cross, training around 1,000 people each year, will also be riding in memory of his daughter Hazel, who died last year following a short illness at the age of just 37.
“I raised £2,000 cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in 2006,” explains Dave, who during the years has raised thousands of pounds for the organisation, “so I’m hoping for at least that amount again this time and the bonus is I’ll also be teaching people simple skills that could one day help them save a life.”
He continued: “I might be biased but I think the Red Cross is an absolutely brilliant organisation because it looks after everybody no matter who you are or what your background is. It’s completely neutral and that’s what I like about it.”
Dave, who cycles nine miles to work each morning, has been getting up at 3am to put in an extra couple of hours’ training each day, and as a supporter of the National Cycle Network will be carrying out his entire ride on the Sustrans-run network.
“I’m aiming to cycle around 100 miles a day, starting at about 6am and finishing by 4pm,” he explains. “What I’m looking forward to is following nice cycle paths away from the road or on nice quiet roads. I’m doing it at the beginning of the holiday season so I’m looking forward to meeting people and teaching them first aid, because it’s a little bit eccentric to be carrying Annie.”
Dave will keep in touch with his family – Pam, his wife of 45 years plus son Simon and daughter Tracy – by phone, as well as meeting up with them at various points en route, and shrugs off the idea that home comforts may be in short supply on his journey.
“I’m going to be staying on campsites and in friends’ gardens,” he says, “but if there’s not a campsite, I’ll ask a farmer if I can stay in a field. It’s going to be a real boy’s adventure.”
You can make a donation to help Dave’s fundraising efforts by visiting his Just Giving page which you’ll find here, while if you have an idea for a challenge of your own to help raise money for the Red Cross, Kate Collins would be delighted to hear from you on 0117 301 2629. You can also visit the Red Cross website to find out more about first aid training.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.