Next year, the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge aims to raise £150,000 for a state of the art 3D ultrasound scanner for the Fetal Medicine Unit at St Michael's Hospital. To support the fundraising effort, Fetal Medicine Unit consultant Tim Overton has decided to sign up for the challenge himself. But, to make it even more challenging, Tim will complete the ride on a tandem bike with former Acting Chief Executive of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Graham Nix - who was also previously Chair of Trustees for Above & Beyond. We sat down with Tim for a chat: 

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

As one of the consultants working on the Fetal Medicine Unit at St Michael’s, I appreciate first-hand the importance of high-quality fetal ultrasound imaging for our patients, particularly when performing complex invasive procedures. The demand on our service is increasing and the acquisition of a new ultrasound machine will allow us to see more patients, make more accurate diagnoses and perform in-utero procedures more safely. What more of a reason could I have to want to take part?!

What are your expectations for the ride?

Hard work and stiff muscles more that compensated for by great camaraderie! I'm doing the ride on a tandem with Graham Nix, who actually interviewed me for my job as consultant while he was in the position of Acting Chief Exec of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. This is the first time the ride has been completed on a tandem so I'm not entirely sure what to expect but I am expecting to get rather sick of looking at his behind for 430 km!

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

This will be my first charity challenge!

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

Graham and I will hopefully capitalise on the novelty of doing the ride on a tandem to raise local awareness. Friends, family and colleagues will clearly have to delve in to their pockets and I also have a number of patients treated on the Fetal Medicine Unit who are keen to contribute. “Every little helps” as they say!

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

Just go for it. The fundraising, though it seems daunting at first, will fall into place and there’s no point in worrying about things like money - life is too short!

Have you started training or getting your gear together yet?

Graham and I have done our first outing on the tandem and cycled 25 miles. It was easier than I thought but perhaps that's because I'm at the back and can let Graham do all the hard work….! I'm also going to the gym regularly (for the first time in years) which must be a good thing. Finally, Graham Wadsworth from MyLife Personal Training is helping me get into shape. I looked after him and his wife in their first pregnancy. We diagnosed a heart problem in their baby Luke who needed open-heart surgery after delivery. Thankfully all is well with him now and he is thriving young boy. Graham has been brilliant and really understands what I need to do to survive the journey.

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