From the very beginning of the 1965Ride in 2011 Alderson Ambulance has been there supporting us. In that very first year Alan Leicester, the Boss, organised us equipment at the very last moment. And so they supported us each year in various ways.
Until 2014 when Alan informed us that they would provide an emergency vehicle and that Mike Warren would be the Paramedic manning it.
How our lives changed from that moment onwards. No longer did we have to worry about how we would deal with medical and other human emergencies. Big Mike, the medic, is known by every cyclist who has undertaken the 850 kilometre journey from Jozi to Queenstown in the last 4 tours – Jozi to Queenstown for Education.
He is so much more than just a medic to all of us. And we do not mean to downplay the importance of medics with this statement. They are an amazing bunch of people and have saved countless lives.
But Big Mike means much more to us. He is ever willing to do anything to help make the 1965Ride more memorable, more fun, safer just by his mere indomitable cheeriness and positive outlook on life.
We know that the last 14 months have been very challenging for him. His wife had to return to England 14 month ago. Big Mike has never lost the faith and knew that by sheer perseverance he would join her in due course. This cost him a great deal in many ways. But his support of the tour never flagged either.
Just a week ago he was in Bisho arranging the traffic permission we need to ride on Eastern Cape roads. This he did in his own time, and is typical of his contribution to our efforts.
I could go on at some length but I am sure you have the picture of the big bear of a man that has enriched all of those associated with the 1965Ride since 2014 with his care, compassion, wonderful sense of humour, booming laugh and massive grin.
Mike, bon voyage, farewell. May England welcome you with open arms. We will miss you.
Of course we hope to have you back tracking our every pedal stroke again in the very near future!
From all of your 1965Ride family!