Peter Whibley, London-Paris cycle ride

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Experiencing depression? Take up a sport. That was the advice of 64 year old Peter Whibley when he spoke to the Rotary Club of Dover on his recent cycle challenge in raising funds for the Pilgrims’ Hospice. He explained that in 2008 he experienced total meltdown in the year of the financial crash in which he found himself out of a well-paid job with NatWest and for a period of three months he suffered severe depression and remained at home. He was prescribed drugs and underwent therapy until someone suggested he try taking up a sport.

Taking up cycling in 2010 for health reasons therefore he became addicted to the activity and in 2011 he and seven others cycled from Land’s End to Dover (415 miles) over five days and raised £12,500 for Help for Heroes. He was very much involved in organising the event with his friend Jim Gleeson of Cullins Yard and the whole process helped his recovery back to relative normality. Since then, he said he had really enjoyed cycling but to get the most out of it needed to challenge himself. In 2013 he cycled in the first Prudential London Surrey 100, cycling 100 miles around the Olympic road race course which had been covered by the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. He raised around £2,500 for Help for Hospices and repeated the ride in 2015 raising in excess of £1,500 for Hospice UK.

This month Peter embarked on a 4-day cycle journey from London to Paris covering 309 miles in total. He said that the first day took all the riders involved from Croydon to Dover and this was a particularly tough day because of the topography of the route and it was undertaken after a night of torrential rain. Day 2 took him and his fellow-cyclists from Calais to Arras, a distance of 82 miles, in rain and a headwind of 20 – 30 mph. Day 3 saw him riding through the Somme region of France between Arras and Compiègne and the fourth day took him to Paris, the Champs Elysée and the Eiffel Tower. This day was not without incident as his new-found cycling companion, aged 70 and also named Peter, had a serious accident en route but notwithstanding that the two Peters managed to reach the finishing line by the deadline that had been set. Peter was particularly pleased to receive thanks from younger riders who had found encouragement and support from Peter and his fellow namesake, the oldest riders on the challenge.

The outcome of the journey was that Peter raised over £3000 for the Pilgrims’ Hospice, a movement for which he has a considerable passion. This included a cheque from the Rotary Club presented by President Dave Smith accompanied by his wife Judith.