Smaller logoDeloitte Ride Across Britain 2014: The Riders

You can sponsor individual riders by clicking on Just Giving link.

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Tony Ryan

Tony Ryan (Team Captain)

Tony is the Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield. Tony has 3 degrees (BSc, PhD and DSc) in polymers and materials science from Manchester. He moved to Sheffield in 1997 and has been Head of the Chemistry Department, Director of the Polymer Centre and Divisional Director of research for Physical Science. He is married with two daughters, loves cooking and eating and lives in Nether Edge.

Last year Tony rode 6,240 miles. He has 9 bikes and regularly travels with one. He has ridden on every continent except Antarctica. You will see him cycling to work all year around. Saturday means a road ride with the Common Lane Occasionals and he likes to get muddy on a mountain bike come Sunday.

Tony has been a keen supporter of the hearing research group in the Biomedical Science Department as the Faculty PVC and is learning more about the science. He has two close friends who are deaf in one ear.


Patrick Fairclough (Team Co-ordinator)

Patrick is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering and works on composite materials (including carbon fibre, though he didn’t make his own bike). Patrick completed a single day of the RAB last year in Scotland, the 115 miles was the longest day in the saddle he did so four of these in a row is probably going to finish him off.

His biggest challenge will be finding the time to go out and put the miles in with a young family. This will involve some late nights and very early mornings over summer – however his son usually wakes around 5 so he won’t need an alarm clock. Patrick’s wife has genetic hearing loss which also affected her father, grandmother and other family members.


Rob Allan

Rob is currently a Security Officer at the University of Sheffield. Although originally from Sheffield, Rob’s previous career in the RAF took him all over the world and provided many challenging experiences along the way. He is currently studying for a degree in law on a part time basis.

A road cycling challenge will be a first for Rob, having previously only used road bikes to commute to work, or for the occasional day out in the Yorkshire Dales. However, he hopes many years of riding mountain bikes, running half marathons and general gym work will be good preparation.

Rob is especially pleased to be contributing to this much needed research, as a close family friend suffers from complete hearing loss. His last big endurance challenge was completing the Wainwright coast-to-coast hike in eight days, carrying all necessary camping equipment.


Jonny Block

Jonny is the Sports Officer at the University of Sheffield Students Union, he has recently graduated with a BA in Accounting and Financial Management. He is a keen sportsman having been involved in the lacrosse and fencing clubs during his time at university.

Although he has competed to a high level in other sports Jonny is a self defined novice at cycling, having never ridden a road bike before August, and was a last minute recruit to team SUFFER. He is really looking forward to the challenge and is very worried about the lack of time between now and September to prepare. Although only taking part in the 400 miles or so of Scotland this journey is something that Jonny has always wanted to do and is very excited to step up to the challenge and join team SUFFER.

We are riding in aid of Hearing Research and this is something that is hugely important and has the ability to change thousands of peoples lives. So please donate generously to a really worthwhile cause.

Denis Cumming

Denis Cumming

Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Denis is a Research Associate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, where he has been for the last four years. Before moving to Sheffield, Denis lived and worked in London during which time he also completed his PhD.

Denis has been a keen cyclist since leaving school. From early days racing downhill mountain bikes he ended up cycle touring across Iceland with only a tent and two panniers. Denis’ natural habitat, however, is the Peak District where he can be found most weekends on either his mountain bike or road bike.

Denis’ youngest cousin was born with hearing problems. These were eventually identified and remedied with electronic hearing aids but his education had already suffered significantly. It left an indelible impression of impact hearing loss can have on a child and their family. Denis is looking forwards to the challenge of effectively raising awareness and funding for Hearing Loss research.


Pierre Drezet

Pierre is a Sheffield University alumnus with a bachelor's & PhD from the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and returning as a researcher and lecturer in applied mathematics. He is now occupied with commercial R&D projects mostly in the TV & mobile industry.

Having rode in a few charity events in the peaks over the past year (both road and mountain bikes), he is hoping this goes some way to preparing for this rather more challenging event with 9 consecutive days in the saddle - However he may be a little naive and will have to get used to some early morning rides this summer.

Hearing has been important subject to Pierre since his previous life as a sound engineer and his on-going interests in audio, acoustics and music. Improving the perception of sound for those with hearing difficulties can create a huge amount of enjoyment in addition to improving communication and other day-to-day affects of hearing difficulties.

Alastair Goldman

Alastair Goldman

Alastair arrived in Sheffield as a lecturer in 1998 and became Head of Department for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2012. He teaches genetics in all year groups of undergraduates and heads a small research group with a mix of PhD students, postdoctoral research and technical staff.

Alastair started cycling “properly” about 5 years ago when a friend let him test a newly built road bike; Alastair decided he had to have one. After a few months he joined the ‘Common Lane Occasionals’ a rag tag group of people who have collected over years from chance meetings on the roads of Derbyshire (whilst cycling!). The CLOs meet Saturday mornings to ride the Peaks, newcomers always welcome.

David Grundy

David Grundy

David is Head of the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield. He graduated from the University of London and Dundee and came to Sheffield as a research fellow in 1978. He runs a research lab investigating the molecular basis of pain and is anticipating a lot of personal pain in the run up to the Ride Across Britain. He is married with 3 grown up boys who are all keen cyclists.

David started cycling in Canada while on sabbatical in the early 1980s and has been commuting daily ever since. He estimates that he has covered the distance between home and the University enough times to go around the world at least once. Hearing is a major part of the Department of Biomedical Science’sresearch portfolio, with several world leaders in auditory physiology here in Sheffield. David is delighted to be able to contribute to a funding effort that will see direct benefits to patients linked to this fundamental research.


Julian Hick

Julian Hick is a GP who works in Baslow, in the Peak District, he also works for the Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care at the University of Sheffield undertaking research on improving primary health care. His present research interest is in identifying ways to improve care for people with epilepsy.

Julian rides both road and mountain bikes and in the past has competed in track, road and mountain bike races. He has toured around many parts of the UK and abroad and annoys his family whenever they travel by saying ‘I’ve cycled along here’. Over the past few years, he hasn’t had time for competing or touring but still gets out for a ride as often as possible.

Julian’s seven year old daughter has had severe hearing loss since the age of four. She uses bone conduction hearing aids and has benefited greatly from the expertise of the ENT and audiology teams at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

With a busy job and two young children Julian has only limited time available for training. He tries, and fails to ride at the pace he could a decade ago, so needs to pace himself over a multi-day ride like the Ride Across Britain.

Matthew Holley

Matthew Holley

Matthew is Professor of Sensory Physiology at the University of Sheffield. He has been in hearing research since 1986, focusing on the ways in which the ear amplifies sound and the potential for sensory regeneration in age-related hearing loss. He is utterly fascinated by the way in which the ear detects and processes sound. Matthew believes that all communities should rise to the challenge of ensuring that the millions of people who suffer from hearing loss in the UK are not socially isolated.

Matthew cycles to work every day, which is a grand total of about 15 miles per week.


Dan Holling

Dan is currently a cleaner at the University of Sheffield who has worked at the University since he was 16. He is a keen cyclist and loves rugby. Dan commutes to work on his bikes and spends most weekends out on his bike. As well as training for this biking challenge he is also training for an event called Tough Mudder – 10-12 miles of gruelling sludgy terrain full of obstacles designed to break the most determined and committed athlete, In the next month he plans to do a 12 hour ride on a cycle machine and a bike ride to Cleethorpes and back in 24 hours to gauge his level of fitness endurance!

Dan feels that Hearing Loss Research is a very worthwhile cause and he is keen to play a part in helping to advance hearing loss research. His biggest challenge will fitting all the training into his already very busy schedule, which includes also playing rugby for Wath RUFC.

Rachel Horn

Rachel Horn

Rachel is currently Director of Teaching / Deputy Head of Department in Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield and will soon be moving to a recent appointment as Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching in Engineering. Outside university, Rachel does a bit of fell running (though she finds steep descents very challenging). She has started a junior running club, “Hope Valley Hurricanes”, so spends Thursday evenings trying to both encourage and keep up with 8-16-yr old runners!

In the past, Rachel has done lots of cycling both in triathlons and time trials, though she has never done consecutive days of around 100 miles. She competed at national and international level in triathlon, representing GB in the elite team at Olympic and long distance, while working in industry as a Civil Engineer, and when she returned to university to study for a PhD. In recent years, she has not done much cycling apart from occasional cycling to work… so is currently going through the pain of finding her cycling legs again!

As a child, Rachel was taught deaf-blind sign language and basic braille by a family friend who was profoundly deaf and whose sight deteriorated rapidly, but whose positive outlook on life was an inspiration. More recently, Rachel’s partner is suffering from tinnitus and deafness in one ear, which is giving experience of some of the frustrations caused by hearing loss.


John Jones

John is a Customer Service Advisor for Print & Design Solutions at The University of Sheffield, he has been in Print Industry for over 30yrs starting as an apprentice from school, and completed a City & Guilds apprenticeship, in August this year he will have worked at the University for 20yrs. John is a member of local Triathlon Team Racing TNT and enjoys Running, Cycling but not so much the Swimming and as of yet has never completed a triathlon, maybe that’s one for the future.

John started cycling about 5yrs ago after the knees starting playing up with running, he is a regular weekend road cyclist now and his usual mileage is around 50 /60 miles, getting used to the Peak district hills! He regularly commutes to work on a mountain bike and has ran 14 Half marathons including the Great North Run, also at least 15 local 10k races.

The biggest challenge for him so far was giving up the 20 + cigarettes a day habit and starting the fitness regime to get him through Sheffield Half Marathon in 2005, but he thinks that will be easy compared to this ride!


Dan Lambert

Dan Lambert is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of Clinical Dentistry, having joined the University in 2008. He teaches first and second year dental students while heading a research group studying head and neck cancers and other oral diseases.

Dan inherited a love of exercise and the great outdoors from his dad and was briefly a keen racing cyclist in the late 1990's, before having to get a proper job and finding that training for three hours a day and working don't mix! Having forsaken the bike for running shoes for the last 15 years, he has recently rediscovered the joy of cycling and is keen to take on a new challenge.


Andrew Myers

Andrew is an undergraduate student at the University of Sheffield. He is studying mathematics and will graduate in summer 2014. In his spare time, Andy is most likely to be found in the Peak District, making the most of the fantastic roads the National Park has to offer.

Andrew bought his first road bike in August 2009 and, after joining his local cycling club, he has since competed in several road races at a regional level. In September 2013 Andrew completed the Rapha Cent Cols Challenge (CCC), which is a 10 day cycling holiday covering 1200 miles and 50,000m of climbing in the Pyrenees. The CCC, however, included one rest day in the middle, a luxury the RAB will do without, so Andrew is looking forward to a slightly different challenge and is hoping his legs will stand up to the job!

Andrew’s uncle was born with deafness in both ears but was only diagnosed aged 3. As a result, Andrew has an understanding of some of the challenges associated with deafness.

Richard Maxted

Richard Maxted

Richard was a member of the Department of Human Resources at the University of Sheffield from 2006 to 2009. He left the University in 2009 to take up an Operational Management role within the NHS at Sheffield NHS Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust. This role has given him an insight into how the research carried out in universities can make a real difference to patients accessing NHS Services.

Richard took up cycling in 2012 in as part of his training to take part in a Triathlon. This challenge will be a significant step up in his cycling experience, a challenge he is looking forward to. He is currently training with fellow participant Mike Wright to ensure they are fit enough to complete the challenge.

Richard’s cousin was born with hearing difficulties which has provided him with an understanding of the challenges associated with deafness.

George Rees

George Rees

George has enjoyed a varied career in technology based businesses and is now Business Development Director for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield: a world class University in an outstanding city. Although technically an “empty nest” home often swells with the return of the three kids.

He began cycling by buying a second-hand bike as a schoolboy to accelerate the paper-round and has since cycled for a range of holidays, including hauling camping gear in huge panniers around North Wales and cycling through the lanes of Guangxi province.

Rob Sykes

Rob Sykes

Rob is the Director of Operations in the Faculty of Social Sciences. He completed his Social History degree at Sheffield in 1996, and since then has held various appointments at the University across a wide range of areas including student support, research student recruitment and admissions, and research management before taking up his current role. When not working Rob enjoys walking with his family, climbing and running

Riding to work is the only real cycling Rob does, so he needs to do a few more miles. In the past, he has run fair distances on the hills, and done many multi-pitch (and a few multi-day) climbs in Europe and North America, so has experienced other types of pain and discomfort.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright

Mike is an HR Advisor at the University of Sheffield. He moved to Sheffield after attending Lancaster University where he completed a management degree. He has previously climbed Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. Mike’s other hobbies include playing golf and supporting Norwich City FC.

Mike began cycling at an early age and his passion has developed from him initially cycling to work, on a daily basis, to more recently completing the cycling section of a team triathlon.However Mike is not a morning person, making the biggest hurdle for him the early starts especially when faced with lengthy rides each day.

Mike’s sister in law is deaf in one ear, which has given him a good insight into the difficulties people with hearing loss face and the impact it can have on many aspects of their life.


Jessica Redgrave

Jess is a Clinical Lecturer in Neurology and Stroke at the University of Sheffield. She loves on the edge of the Peak District and is keen to explore. Jess has not undertaken a cycling challenge before although she has run several half-marathons. Her main experience of cycling is commuting to work and back! Jess’ granddad was hard of hearing and found his hearing aids rather difficult to use so it became quite difficult to communicate with him effectively which was frustrating for all concerned. Jess also has a good friend in India who is conducting research into causes and treatments of deafness in children. Jess biggest challenge is finding the time to train for this event alongside her work and family responsibilities. Luckily she has a wonderful husband who also enjoys cycling and the whole family are enjoying bike rides with the children (ages 1 and 4) in the tag-along trailer!