Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 41 was not part of the game plan! Being punched in the stomach when least expecting it best describes the feeling. After obsessively surfing the net hoping to find an article entitled ‘PARKINSON’S CURE AT LAST’ I came to the conclusion that the only way to help myself was to get fit! There were plenty of articles suggesting exercise helped negate the symptoms synonymous with Parkinson’s. Inspired by the likes of Bryn (Wobbly) Williams and Alex Flynn I signed up to do the London to Paris bike ride in 2012 along with my good friend Jason Griffin (who naively said he would do anything to help!). The challenge was two-fold, get fit and raise money for research. After a grueling training regime, literally blood, sweat and tears, we made it to Paris making £10k for CPT in the process.

I realized if we were to raise a similar amount of money in 2013 it would require extra effort and some clever marketing. Joined this time by our friend Mike Ball we came up with 3 Men In Lycra as a name we could PR and generate interest. We decided to take on multiple challenges including a 100 mile ride in the West Texas desert called the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred: 16,000 cyclists in 116F temperatures! The ultimate challenge was a 300-mile London to Brussels ride planned entirely by the 3 Men in Lycra with my nephew Sam in my car carrying our stuff. This meant savings we could pass on to CPT, but the real price was lots of wrong turnings and my luggage sitting in Amsterdam while I was in Belgium!

Our exploits were re-tweeted by the likes of Olympian Katherine Merry and Sky Sports’ Dave Clarke and gained a strong Twitter following which generated sponsorship from a complete stranger in California and followers in Texas whom we met up with after the ride! We also had a full-page article including a 3 Men in Lycra photo in the local newspaper, fame at last!!!

The result of our effort is another £10k to CPT and some great memories.

Three years on from my decision to take on a challenge I am fit, healthy and in love with cycling as are Mike and Jason. I am in no doubt the progression of my Parkinson’s has slowed and I still take minimal medication. I am also proud of my achievements, I remember seeing my friends cycling in a peloton wearing their CPT shirts and thinking, Parkinson’s will take a lot from me in the future, but it won’t take away this feeling - Bradley Wiggins eat your heart out.

Brent Coulson