Richard Burt is embarking on a 100 climb cycle-a-thon this summer and is hoping every pedal will help reach his £50,000 target for Dementia UK.
As his main sponsor, Sanctuary Care, who has donated more than £5,000 towards the challenge, wanted to get to know how a man in his sixties could face such a grueling cycling mission. Read his sporting story below!
Richard was born in Farnborough in 1954 and was part of a ‘2.4 family’ to parents George and Peggy Burt, with older sister Ann.
Born and bred in Hampshire, Richard attended Farnborough Grammar School and it was here where he started to excel in sports.
Love of sports!
In his younger years Richard was a football fanatic, like most boys his age and bagged himself a spot on the school’s team – which scooped the District Schools’ League leaderboard title for four consecutive years.
When the football season was over, Richard also dabbled in athletics in the summer and even walked 32 miles in one day in army boots for a sponsored walk around the age of 13. The following year at 14, he won the District Sports 3000m Walking Race – which at the time seemed a very long way.
However once leaving his local grammar school, Richard’s priorities in sport took a halt until he found his trainers again at the age of 23 where he started to run.
Running in all conditions, Richard would enjoy road and cross-country running at club level for 15 years, where he finished the London Marathon in 1987 in 2 hours and 30 minutes– until he realized he couldn’t go any faster or run any further so (unlike Richard) gave up and did no real sporting activity for 20 years – until he discovered cycling at the age of 58 that is!
Before finding his love of cycling, Richard found love in Lorely Burt, MP and now Baroness Burt of Solihull and the pair married on 31 March 1992. He also has a son James and a step-daughter Emma, who are both 27-years-old.
While being a devoted husband and father Richard also had a wide spread of career highlights from working as a Press Photographer, a Fire Control Operator and a Religious Studies Teacher. After teaching, Richard ran his own sportswear manufacturing and supply company for ten years before getting involved in politics.
New hobby at 58 – thanks to Bradley Wiggins!
Seeing Bradley Wiggins become the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France ignited Richard’s inner love of bikes, albeit as a teenager his love was more for Lambretta scooters.
Armed with his new inspiration and a mental push from his son James, who had also just started riding, Richard jumped on a bike and wobbled down the road, nearly falling off repeatedly in the first half mile. However, the wobbly half a mile soon turned into an hour and then two hours. By the next summer, Richard was riding up to 500km per week on a new carbon bike and while he wasn’t visiting family, you would always find him on his bike.
Cycling achievements to date
Since starting in 2012, Richard has shone in cycling and in the last three years alone, Richard has raced everything from a two-minute hill climb to the classic 300km classic Milan San Remo cyclosportive in Italy.
He has also raced in the Alps in temperatures up to 43 degrees and cycled for seven consecutive days in the Haute Route Pyrenees, the World’s highest and toughest cyclosportive.
Richard also achieved the fastest timed climbs for over 60s last year on three major British sportives and still enjoys trying to set the quickest times recorded on Strava, a running and cycling GPS tracker, on his local hills.