Here’s a bit of good news as the festive season approaches – road.cc stalwart and early onset Parkinson’s sufferer Keith McRae, who has thousands of forum posts under his name here, Gkam84, will be back riding before Christmas, with the recumbent trike he needs to get mobile again now ordered after Rotherham-based bike retailer JE James stepped in to give his appeal the final nudge over the line.
The response to the appeal Keith launched last month on his GoFundMe page has been phenomenal as road.cc users plus others who heard about his plight through social networks generously dipped into their pockets to help him out. It was a link to a road.cc story about him on Twitter that made JE James aware of his situation.
“Having contacted Keith Friday via twitter and discussing how far from his target he was, we took it upon ourselves to speak to the guys over at Ice Trikes first thing Monday morning and explain our intentions,” says a post on the JE James website.
“We wanted to contribute to Keith’s campaign to get him the most important bike of his life before Christmas.
“It’s now Tuesday the 11th December, the guys at Ice Trike have agreed to help us help Keith and his bike is now on order, specified to his exact needs meaning he can get out and cycle before the 25th December!”
Andy Liversidge, social media and marketing manager at JE James, said: “Keith is a real inspiration. Our sport is loved by so many people, men, women and kids of all ages all eager to get out and ride.
When I read Keith’s story, his love for cycling was clear and it really made me want to help him. Here’s a guy with the passion of so many other cyclists, yet he can’t get out and ride.
“With the help of the fantastic people over at Ice Trikes, we have managed to get Keith on his way to being back out on the road. Along with so many other people who have kindly donated via his funding page after reading the road.cc post, Keith should be out cycling before Christmas so long as the snow holds off.
“It’s times like this which makes cycling, and the cycling community stand out from the crowd. It makes me proud to be involved in an industry that helps change peoples lives.
“On behalf of JE James Cycles I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped Keith with donations, without you this wouldn’t be possible. Another big thank you goes to the guys over at Ice Trikes who will be supplying us with Keith’s bike. The last thank you goes to road.cc for sharing Keith’s story and supporting his campaign.”
To which we’d add, thank you, road.cc users, for helping Gkam84 out whether through donations or helping spread the word about his appeal.
If you’ve been following his story, you’ll also know that pro teams and individuals within the sport were generous in donating items to help raise money – those will still be auctioned, with the money going to charity.
On his GoFundMe page, Keith wrote: ““Big thanks to JE James Cycles for their help with this, but especially to Andy Liversidge, without his interaction firstly via Twitter and then email. None of this would have been possible.
“So the trike is on the way, so are many items that were donated, so these will be sorted out as raffles in due course. Don't worry, I have all the donors’ emails and will be in touch with thank yous, photos and updates.
“I'm totally buzzing at the moment, haven't felt like this in forever, since I was a young kid really. So much confidence at the moment, going to use all the good will and channel it into getting out and about, interacting with people again, a little at a time.”
As we said at the start, it’s a great bit of news. Lots of people will be getting bikes this Christmas – few, we suspect, will mean as much as this one.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.