Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin, an RAF veteran, a cyclist and who is also a “gentleman of the road”, so to speak. This occurred while my family attended the Big Church Day Out at Wiston Park, Steyning and I had the chance to have a brilliant bike ride.
On my way back I travelled through Eastbourne and Brighton and this is where I met Kevin. His story is one he’s happy to share: he left the RAF in 2001 and has found himself on the road more or less since. An unassuming and undemanding man, he has a gentle way about him.
He travels on average 35 miles a day around various parts of the UK and lives independently. He avails himself of various services for people in his situation to help keep him going.
I did feel for him when he showed me his bicycle. On one hand it was nothing special; a basic Dawes MTB and yet it clearly meant so much to him. It was his sole means of transport and the trailer it pulled contained his worldly belongings. This contained his sleeping bag, a cooking stove and so on. He explained someone had ripped him off to the tune of £45 for refitting the rear mech. On looking a little closer at this, I could tell it hadn’t been done very well and the chain was so long, the rear mech jockey wheels were folded up on themselves, it was difficult to see how he could change gear at all. With the right tools, fixing this would be easy but unfortunately I didn’t have a 15mm spanner or a chain link tool. The front mech was not operational either as the cable wasn’t connected to anything.
In spite of these technical problems and the challenges of “life on the road” Kevin seems to manage and keeps a positive attitude.
Do Kevin a favour, if you have the opportunity please. If you come across him, please make sure his bike is running smootly with whatever your tools allow. If you think you can helps him out in other ways, use your judgement and do the right thing.