Chris Dean heard about the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge in 2016 when he joined in with some bike rides organised by our challenge partner Bike Science. However, after his wife Cath received treatment at St Michael's Hospital this year, Chris wanted to say thank you for the care they received and registered for the challenge. We found out more about his decision to sign up:

Why have you decided to take on the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018?

This year we were very happy to find out my wife was pregnant. All was normal at our 19 week scan at St Michael's Hospital, but we were told to go back in two weeks because the baby was in a position preventing proper view of all of her. At that second scan, they discovered that her heart had become very enlarged since the first scan. Another scan was conducted by the Fetal Medicine Unit the following day, who suspected that anaemia caused by a viral infection was the probable cause, and that same day carried out a blood transfusion to our baby in the womb, by inserting a needle into a vein in her tummy, guided by the picture on their ultrasound scanner. The consultants told us that she was very severely anaemic and without that second scan and transfusion would have certainly died.

I'm very happy to say that our healthy and happy baby girl Imogen was born in September! We feel incredibly grateful to the staff at St Michael's and Cath suggested I do some sort of sponsored cycle, at which point I remembered Above & Beyond, saw the deadline for the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge application was nearing, panicked, and signed up without knowing too much more about it! The fact that the fundraising money is to be used for the sort of sophisticated scanning equipment that must have been required for Imogen's transfusion makes it feel like fate!

In addition, this seems like a great way of making sure that I stay on top of my fitness with a new baby in the house!

What are your expectations for the ride?

A bike allows you to travel at a pace that's fast enough to see the scenery change but not so fast that you don't take it in. I've never cycled for multiple consecutive long days and I'm looking forward to doing just that, seeing how the landscape changes as we head out of England, through France and towards Paris. I think I'll have a real sense of achievement when we arrive in Paris, as it's amazing that you can set off in one country and end up in another entirely under your own steam – well, other than the ferry crossing!

Have you done any other charity challenges and/or fundraising in the past? 

I took part in a "Survival of the Fittest" run / mixed obstacle course type event a few years ago, supporting a number of charities as part of a team through work.

How do you plan on reaching the £1,700 fundraising total?

I will be mainly hoping to exploit the generosity of friends, family and business associates. I'm a keen amateur photographer, and someone suggested I do some mini photography sessions, asking for donations to Above & Beyond in return, so that’s a possibility. 

What would you say to people thinking about signing up to the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge?

I would say that it is a fantastic opportunity to support and raise awareness around a very worthwhile cause. I may not be the best person to ask about fundraising however – I kind of signed up at the last minute and decided to worry about the fundraising later!

Have you started training or getting your gear together yet?

As a very new father I haven't started any specific training yet, so at the moment I'm relying on my daily commute up Park Street as a sort of High Intensity Interval Training in the hope that it'll go some way to maintain the fitness I already have! I'll be concentrating on short intense rides for the time being. I then need to make sure that I get on to doing longer rides when possible and I need to start building some back to back days of long rides into my training.

You can support Chris on his fundraising journey on his Everyday Hero page.

See the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge 2018 page to register and contact [email protected] or 0117 927 7120 with any queries.