Event Date: Sunday 4 October 2020
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Each year in October, Penge CC holds a special set of Sunday rides dedicated to the memory of Barry Covington, a club member who died in 2017 whilst taking part in a bike race in France.
Barry was a phenomenal cyclist, who specialised in superhuman feats of endurance. He was also a special young man with a close group of family and friends who thought the world of him and miss him. So, each year at around the same time we did the first ?Barry? ride, shortly after his funeral, we invite Barry?s friends and family so join us on the ride or at the end to eat, drink and toast Barry?s memory. Covid-19 has put a bit of a crimp on the social aspects of the day, but we will still ride as planned
A bit about Barry
Barry was one of those people who was already a legend when he died; at the bike club his legend status came from the tales of the monstrous rides he undertook, notably in the year he died, two rides that would simply not be possible for most people. One involved cycling from London to Wales to take part in one of the hardest one-day sportives in the country, the Dragon Ride, followed by the return ride back to London. This a mere training run for the epic London-Edinburgh-London Audax ride, which he completed over 5 days with just snatches of sleep as he battled wind and rain over 1200km. Barry rode with the fast group at the club and did a lot of solo riding, but he was also great company and had many good friends in the club.
That race in France
Barry took part in the amateur version of the cycling world championships, an annual event that invites the best amateurs from all over the world who have qualified to represent their country. In 2017, the race took place in Albi in Southern France amidst a late summer heatwave. Barry?s family, including his partner, Paul, had travelled to France with Barry as had 3 members of the club, James Marshall, Emma Porter and Clare Parkinson. In the heat, Barry collapsed from heat exhaustion and was taken to hospital where, a couple of days later, he died.
The first Barry ride
Barry?s family made it clear they wanted as many of the club involved at Barry?s funeral and we didn?t disappoint them. At the service, Emma and James read a poem they had written about ?Bionic Barry? and Max, another friend in the club, read his incredibly moving poem. Both are below and you can see a printed version of ?Bionic Barry? on the wall in SE20 Cycles alongside a picture of Barry taking part in the Dragon Ride, just to the right as you enter the shop. That same photo was reproduced on the side of Barry?s coffin, which we followed from the church to cemetery in a Penge peloton. Shortly after the funeral, we planned the first ?Barry? ride, with a number of groups leaving the shop and returning to Herne Hill Velodrome where we met up with all of Barry?s family and friends and toasted his all too short life ? and where we made the plan to repeat the ride each year.
Wheels for Wellbeing
The charity nominated by Paul for donations following Barry?s funeral was local disabled cycling charity, Wheels for Wellbeing. The appeal, supported by the first Barry ride, raised X000 for the charity and shortly after this, we adopted ?Wheels? as the club?s chosen charity. We now raise money as new members join or renew, at various club events and annually at the Barry ride. The charity is based in Brixton, operates out of Croydon, Ladywell and Herne Hill providing opportunities for disabled riders to enjoy cycling.
Barry Ride 2020
This will take place on Sunday 4th October and this year we will repeat the fun bike racing at the Velodrome after the morning rides. The plan, in outline, is to have a number of group rides setting off from the shop at staggered times. Riders should sign up to take part in these rides and there is a small £5 fee which we donate to Wheels for Wellbeing. Those racing will need to be at the Velodrome ready for a 2.00pm start. Those wishing to spectate will only be able to do so from a distance in their social groups on the space around the outside of the track.