Leaning on the barriers close to the finish line of the Ride London 100 event, amongst the plethora of enthusiastic and encouraging spectators, reminded me of the first time I’d been to a concert…

Now on London Bridge, I was waiting for two different heroes, Service Manager Dan Bell and his friend Sam Millar, who were taking on the herculean challenge to cycle 100 miles to fundraise for United Response.

Ride London 100 is a unique cycling event where those taking part ride 100 miles on traffic-free roads through the heart of London and across the scenic Essex countryside, before finishing on London Bridge.

As the cyclists were rolling past, I began to fear I’d miss them and the photo and video footage that my husband Alex and I had been planning… then the United Response logo appeared in the distance. The two strong, determined friends approached the finish line and triumphantly punched the air. Victory was most definitely theirs.

Left: Nora, Sam and Dan celebrating after the race
Right: a close up of one of the Ride London 100 finisher medals

Because of crowd-control and a one-way pedestrian system, it was 20 minutes later when we had the opportunity to congratulate them.

“That was superb, I’m in awe of you! You’re heroes!” I said.

“They really are!” agreed Dan’s five-year-old son Lucas, as he proudly exhibited his father’s medal.

Pictured from left: Sam, Dan and Dan’s son Lucas

Afterwards we were delighted to join Sam, Dan and his family for a celebratory picnic – full of jubilation and laughter.

When the time was right, I asked Sam to share with us how he felt about his amazing achievement.

Smiling, he said:

To ride 100 miles through London and Essex car-free, finishing on London Bridge was something very special to me. To do it with a close friend is even more special and to be able to raise money for a brilliant charity really was the icing on the cake.

To add to that, being labelled ‘heroes’ by Nora made it even more worthwhile – that’s not something I’ve been called before!

He continued:

I’m on a real high from the event – I’ve absolutely loved training for it. I’m new to cycling but a keen cyclist so to achieve 100 miles in under six hours and 30 minutes feels like a massive achievement.

I’m super grateful to have been given the opportunity to do the ride and to be able to support United Response.

Between them, Sam and Dan have smashed their fundraising target, raising an incredible £1,214!

They would like the money they have raised to go to The Enterprise – United Response’s community activities hub in Richmond – to fund a day out to Brighton for people we support.

Dan said proudly:

Thinking of the joy that a trip to the beach would give the people we support motivated me more and made me train harder.

It will be great for their wellbeing – I know they will absolutely love it!

Thank you very much Sam and Dan for the time, energy and enormous effort you put into making this happen.

You really are heroes and we are extremely proud of you.

Have Dan and Sam have inspired you to take on your own fundraising challenge?

To get started, contact our Fundraising team at: Fundraising@unitedresponse.org.uk