Meet the dad-son duo’s riding on Father’s Day this year!
On Sunday 18th June, we welcome back daring riders to Margam Park for the latest edition of the Dragon Ride, with this year’s event landing on a date significant for many taking part.
With Father’s Day taking place on the same day, we have some incredible Father Son duos who have decided to take on the legendary route together. We have spoken to a couple of them to find out what it means to them to be sharing the experience together on Father’s Day.
Lee and Mikey
(words by Lee)
I’m 42 and am a reasonably experienced cyclist, participating in anything from sprint distance triathlon to ultra distance and desert challenges. Mikey, my stepson, is 32 the day before Dragon Ride, so it’s an extra special event for him. In the past 13 years I’ve known him, going out and doing crazy fitness things have been a great bonding time for us. Mikey has always played ice hockey but has only found the bike and running in the past few years. So far together we have gone from him never cycling to his first century ride only a year or so ago. It’s so important for me to be there with him and share the experience and memories. So many times I’ve been to events solo but it’s the people sharing the experience that make it special.
My main advice to other participants (and which I will be giving Mikey on the day) is go slow and enjoy the experience. It’s going to be a long day on the bike in those Welsh hills. Plus if Mikey goes too quick, my plan to catch him from the longer Dragon Ride distance will go out the window!
Simon and Desmond
(words by Simon)
My dad and I are both biking enthusiasts but dad is the one putting in the 1000’s of miles each year on tarmac whilst I’m splitting my time between tarmac and racing my mountain bike. The events started when dad convinced us to do a road trip in France and Switzerland, and ever since then we’ve tried to do a couple of sportives together. Dad’s never cycled the Welsh mountains, so has no idea of the fun we’re in for. It’s because of this that I entered us into the Dragon ride for the first time, as the event looked like one of the best in the country with some great hills, scenery and vibe.
My first memory was when I was young and Dad had a red, super heavy mountain bike that we’d see him ride around our local park. It was then no coincidence that I soon followed and did exactly the same thing, forming a good group of biking friends who would meet most days to build jumps and ride downhill. It wasn’t until later that dad got interested in road bikes and bought himself a roadie and made it his main hobby. I realised that if dad was spending hours on the bike, then why not give it a go myself – I used my cycle to work scheme to get a road bike which then got used for commuting as well as going out with dad when I could. What I’ve realised is that the social side of riding is a great way to connect, you have so many hours together, talking about the small things in life whilst touring /exploring nice places and countryside.
At 72 dad is still chasing us up all the hills, keeping pace on longer rides and smiling the whole time – none of us can believe the passion and dedication put in to be at this level at 72. Quite simply put, we’d love to be as fit and capable as Dad when we’re this age. It’s also nice to have “a thing” that you’re both interested in, a reason to connect. We found that life is such a rush with kids, work and other aspects, that cycling gave us time to relax, find a coffee shop and have some cake so we can focus on our relationship without distractions. Without cycling, these moments are short and rushed so cycling gives us this reason to come together.
We are looking forward to the whole experience at the Dragon Ride; from the road trip in the van early morning from Bristol – with coffee in hand talking all things biking – to the satisfaction of reaching each of the major hills on the ride. I know dad has printed out the hills, analysed them and putting in specific training, so getting up them without stopping will be very satisfying for him. For me, it will be passing the finishing line together, knowing that dad will have left 2 seconds on the starting line which always puts him ahead on the timings sheet. After the event, we can then chill and grab some food and drink whilst connecting with others who have also completed this great ride, knowing that we’ve done something good for ourselves as well as raised some money to support others along the way through the partnered charity Macmillan.
Julian and Michael (and Felix)
(words by Julian)
My family grew up in Würzburg in the south of Germany, a town that is hilly but also ideal for cycling and mountain biking. Some of my earliest memories are of cycling in Würzburg with my father, who really encouraged me to get into the sport. My first competition was when I was six years old, and since then, I love participating in events and pushing myself physically.
My little brother Felix has also recently rediscovered his joy for longer distances like this event, which has meant that my dad, brother and myself are able to enjoy trips together. For example, we went to Scotland last year for an event which was really fun. I lead a very busy life, as a young professional who is starting my own company, however events like the Dragon Ride are a great time for me to bond with my family – especially with my father, who I look up to as an experienced rider who introduced me to the sport.
Christopher and Morgan
(words by Christopher)
We are a French-Welsh family and we spent large parts of the summer in France together as our children grew up. That’s where my son Morgan and I really started road cycling in 2012: in the French alps. At certain times of the week the roads up the peaks would be closed to cars, allowing cyclists to take to the Tour de France routes unhindered by cars. We did that a few years running.
My son Morgan is 27 now and I believe its his 3rd Dragon ride (the first one he did without me). Last year and this year we are tackling the course together, but on different length routes of course, I am 63 years of age, so I wouldn’t want to hold him back! We have always cycled as a family, both as a means of transport and as a sport. Now that my son and myself have become more focused on road cycling we tend to cycle together when we meet up either in London, Cardiff or West Wales. My son works in London now and I live in Cardiff. Its a great opportunity to spend some time together and talk.
After the event, we expect to have a family celebration back in Cardiff. Morgan will be doing the long one, so not sure what condition he will be in after that! I think that the Dragon Ride is a great opportunity to meet and chat to other participants on the endeavour; we all have a common aim and interest and for that brief period we almost become best of friends!