Last updated:21st March 2016

Canterbury club cyclist joins Helgi in 5,000 mile ride for AS awareness

In 1877, Canterbury established its own cycling club. In 2013, Canterbury Bicycle Club (CBC) was re-launched, and as Canterbury's only road cycling club, continues to grow. One of the people involved in its re-launch was Tim Rhodes (pictured left), who lives in Canterbury with his family.

Tim came to road cycling via mountain biking (combined with daily commuting). His switch from off-road to road came in 2012 after ongoing back problems prevented him hurling himself through Denge Woods down single track with all the twists and turns involved. His back problems, which have kept him off the bike for periods, went unexplained for years until he received a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

AS is a progressive arthritis of the spine, causing inflammation, which can result in bone fusing around the vertebrae. It can also affect the neck, hips and knees, and eyes (as a result of inflammation in the body). Around 200,000 people in the UK have AS.

Aside from pain management, about the only thing to manage AS is exercise. This suits Tim who admits to a high level of cycling dependency: "Now, I know that I need to exercise, I've the perfect excuse to cycle more!".

On learning that he had AS, one of the first people Tim came across was the Canadian endurance athlete Helgi Olafson, who also has AS. Helgi's mantra is "exercise is medicine". Tim with members of the Canterbury Bicycle Club will be riding with Helgi on part of his 5000 mile European tour to raise awareness about AS and to support the work of the NASS. Tim and the Canterbury Bicycle Club will be riding London-Dover on a course of around 95 miles in early July. "It's great to have a local Kent club supporting me on my ride to Dover. Tim made contact with me the day after he learned of his AS. To have the support of CBC is epic", says Helgi, whose ride takes him from Scotland to Poland.

If you want to support the efforts of Canterbury Bicycle Club in this initiative, you can contribute via Tim`s fundraising page.

Even better, if you want to take some ‘exercise as medicine', join in, and ride with CBC and Helgi on July 2: You can register here.

Everyone at NASS would like to thank Tim and the Canterbury cycling club for their support.