RideLondon-Essex 100, a celebration of cycling, takes place on Sunday 28 May 2023. The spectacular event will see three cyclists cover 100 miles on traffic-free roads through the heart of London and neighbouring Essex for TOFS.
Please read their stories and support them if you can.
Your riders are:
- Gareth Stewart
- Vicki Martin
- James Tindal-Robertson
Meet the team
Hi, my name is Gareth and I am delighted to be taking part in RideLondon 2023 and raising funds for TOFS.
My wife is a Speech & Language Therapist at Great Ormond Street Hospital and she specialises in children’s feeding and swallowing difficulties, which includes TOF/OA. She is part way through a PhD focussed on understanding this rare condition better and the TOFS charity have supported her research.
Until she commenced her research I had no awareness of TOF/OA, but I feel proud to be able to contribute in a small way and support a great cause. I enjoy cycling, although I am more often mountain biking than long distance road cycling, so look forward to taking on the challenge!
I am a 56 year old adult born with OA/TOF (operated on at Great Ormond Street Hospital) who also has VACTERL (minor vertebral anomalies. bicuspid aortic valve ie cardiac, single kidney ie renal). I live in Suffolk with two dogs, a horse and numerous fish (mostly koi carp).
I’ve been a keen cyclist since my teens. My school used to have an annual cycle race and I believe I was the first girl to participate solo (without sharing the distance with a teammate): I also did a 140 miles sponsored cycle after O levels, over two days. At university I participated in a couple of triathlons, and after graduation I cycled Lands End to John O Groats in a huge organised group of 160 people, over 2 weeks.
But since then my cycling has been rather on/off. My last serious phase of regular training was now 8 years ago, when I was travelling a lot to the San Francisco Bay Area – mountain biking up and down Mount Tam and sharing the roads with a huge number of cyclists, since it’s a very serious cycling area. I also did the ‘King of the Road’ challenge in New Hampshire (in the photo I am wearing the cycling top associated with this event), organised by former professional road cyclist Ted King.
I read on Facebook that a space had come up to participate in RideLondon for TOFS and was delighted to get the slot – a great excuse to get back on my bikes (of which I have far too many, mostly gathering dust). With only a bit over 4 weeks notice it will be a very short training programme beforehand, however I am reasonably fit and strong from various outdoors tasks so hopefully my cycling legs will come back soon!
Hi, my name is James, I am very excited to be doing RideLondon this year to raise money for TOFS.
I love cycling, both MTB and road, but it has been hard to get out on the bike since our daughter Elizabeth was born 18 months ago, especially as she has Oesophageal Atresia, i.e. she was born with a gap between her oesophagus and stomach. So I am very pleased to be able to ride it this year, and it means a lot to be riding for such a good cause.
Elizabeth has had a number of operations and hospital visits since she was born, and was in intensive care for the first 6 weeks after birth, but at the last minute, we managed to get home at 7pm on Christmas Eve, with nothing prepared for Christmas, except the main present – our beautiful daughter back home for the first time! Elizabeth has been a blessing to my wife Anna and I, with such wonderful calmness and acceptance, but also a cheeky sense of humour and determination to explore and have adventures.
She has just had a major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, that we hope will enable her to feed relatively normally in the future. We are greatly relieved that this has gone well, although its early days, and we are working hard to support her at this time as she recovers and takes on the challenge of learning to feed. This ride is dedicated to Elizabeth and all the amazing support we have had so far, and continue to have, especially from TOFS and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
During the ride, every time I have a banana, snack bar, cake or energy gel (I’ll be needing many of these over the 100 miles!), I will try and think of how fortunate most of us are to have good health, and to be able to eat so easily, when for some others with Oesophageal Atresia, there are serious challenges to overcome.
Thanks for any donations you are able to give to TOFS who have given me a place in RideLondon, and who do great work in supporting families with Oesophageal Atresia, both during critical medical phases like Elizabeth’s, but also longer term, post-surgery, as they learn to feed and settle into nursery, school life and beyond.