Start of our Cycle to raise money for the MND Association

Kew, 28th February 2008

My name is Steve Evans (right in picture) and at 40 last year I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I won't go into details about the condition other than to say that its severity changes your outlook on life very quickly.
Although awareness of the condition is very poor compared to other life limiting illnesses, the MND association are very active, providing whatever assistance is possible to sufferers and their carers and it is for this reason I wanted, while I was still physically able, to raise money and assist in increasing public awareness.
By the start of the ride on Thursday, the JustGiving website along with tax re-claims and offline donations was totaling around £7000, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed for their generosity. I originally had a target of £5000 but I am now determined to get the final total to £10,000.
OK, so the plan was to complete a ride from Kew to Godalming (along the meandering banks of the Thames and Wey Navigation Channels) across 2 days, with a planned break around Ripley where we had booked a B & B. The reasoning behind the plan was that following waterways would minimise gradients which I knew could be beyond me. A year or two back I would have happily cycled this distance in a day but in the last 6 months I had barely cycled at all and anyone who has seen me in the last 3 months will have noticed that walking is now getting quite difficult. So when I planned the route in January I knew I would have to tackle it in two stages - although I was even beginning to have some doubts about this plan a day or so before the ride.
Two very good friends Adam and Jon had agreed to join me on the ride and have also helped raised money in the process. I have known Jon for nearly 15 years and he was wearing the same lilac fleece then. As you see from the photos, he's inseparable from it and we suspect that it has, at some point in the past, been surgically attached.
I met Adam 7 years ago at antenatal classes (which we had both reluctantly attended with our respective partners) and we have been good friends since. Adam is a professional photographer and was therefore given the task of pictorially recording the event. He kindly waived his normally exorbitant royalty fees for use of his photos on this website!! Adam will also be keen for me to point out very clearly which pictures he did not take so as to protect is professional reputation!!
So having been dropped off with our bikes by Adam's very obliging father-in-law, Tony we set off from the rear gates of Kew Gardens towards Godalming.......