Mike Carpenter is a part-time support worker for United Response and is over 60 years old. But his age has not put him off attempting Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, a 100 mile cycle that is the cycling equivalent of running a marathon.

We spoke to Mike about why he is taking on such a demanding event.

What made you want to take on RideLondon and raise money for United Response?

I’ve been involved in road running since the first London Marathon took place in 1981. I was inspired by seeing Beardsley and Simonsen holding hands as they crossed the line together in the pouring rain and determined to have a go myself the following year. Nine London Marathons and several hundred other races later, I decided to hang up my trainers and to try cycling instead. This was about two years ago. The RideLondon 100 seems to be pretty much the equivalent, only for bikes. I had not applied to enter either of the RideLondon events mainly because of the complicated logistics of a weekend in London. But the mother of one of the young men I support pointed out the ad in the United Response Your Link magazine and I thought that if a place was still available, I would be pretty well placed to do it.

You work for United Response. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do and what you enjoy about your work?

I am over 60 and semi-retired now but have worked part time for United Response for about three years. I do what’s called ‘outreach’ from home, whereby I visit two young men with learning disabilities and thoroughly enjoy working with them and their families, both contributing to and receiving much from them. Fortunately, both enjoy cycling so it is a real pleasure to load up the bikes and take them to nice places, of which there are many in Cornwall and Devon.

What other cycle events have you taken part in?

I have some favourite cycling sportive events here in the West Country which I like to do. There is the Kiloto Go Cornish Tor, The Lands End 100 and Bideford. All of these are very hilly. There is one I have done called the New Forest Rattler and one around Shropshire which was also very tough. I like these events because they are not competitive (although some think they are!) and I can bumble round at my modest pace and enjoy the scenery. I have entered the Dartmoor Classic in June which I gather is a real tough ride!

How are you training for the event?

After having suffered some broken bones last July in an accident, I am building my weekly mileage up to around 200 miles a week. I live about 25 miles from Plymouth ferry port so last weekend I cycled down, took the overnight ferry to Roscoff and then rode the 70 miles to a friend’s house near Quimper and back again in pretty strong winds. I’m pretty confident of getting round although I will be tired at the finish!

What sort of time are you hoping to complete the event in?

It’s difficult to tell but I have done a 100 miler in under 8 hours and I don’t think the RideLondon course is particularly hilly!

What are you looking forward to most about the event?

Getting out there, meeting other people and giving my best.

Do you have any friends and family coming along to support you on the day?

Possibly my wife, and I will ask the person I support!

Mike was talking to Sarah Bartlett, head of press and appeals and Mark Schueler, fundraising officer.