Prostate Pedallers Blog

Farewell to Crazy Bob


Today we said farewell to one of our own, fellow Pedaller and good friend “Crazy Bob”. Bob sadly lost his battle with Prostate Cancer and was laid to rest.


He was particularly admired for his courage, sense of humour, generosity, his amazing cake baking skills and always putting others before himself.


He will be sadly missed.


One of our Pedallers, Mike, wrote a lovely tribute to Bob.


Crazy Bob, they called you.

It’s my first ride out with the Pedallers and you have the place in front of me. We have not gone above half a mile and start to slope upwards when suddenly you pitch off your bike and start rolling around on the ground clutching your ribs and groaning. I think to myself: “Bob, what are you doing, auditioning for a part on the stage ? “ The other riders shrug their shoulders – they’ve seen it all before. You pick yourself up and the ride continues.

You are always out on the rides, pale and dogged, another rider falling back to urge you on. There comes a day when the Colonel says: “Bob, give yourself a break from the forest, take the road, we’ll meet you at the top”. At the top you are nowhere to be seen. But who is that emerging from the pub: “ Just stopped for a coffee, you say” “Really, Bob ?”

Now we are out in open country and you have a flat tyre. We strip out the old tube out and ask “Have you got a spare ?” “Yes”, you say. “Where is it” “Back in the car”, is the reply. “You don’t say, Bob”.

It’s another day and the ride breaks to fix a mechanical. The ride re-starts, but there is a rider missing. “Where is he ? “ “Who is that curled up on the verge sound asleep ?” “Well, I never”

On the occasions when you and your bike part company, you said you liked to do so artistically, stretching your arms in the air as if you were taking part in some kind of ballet, before crashing to the ground.

There was an innocence and curious lack of worldliness about you when it came to bike riding as if it was something that was happening to you, rather than something that was under your control. This is your charm.

Tales reached me of recklessness, Bob, you throwing yourself forward with scant regard for your safety nor the safety of anyone else, for that matter. The Colonel is in despair, his head is in his hands. But, I wonder, does this have any bearing on the matter, by any chance? You declared one day that there was only one service – your beloved Royal Navy. “Just obeying orders, Sir ?”

The ride is over now. The Pedallers are in conclave at the Bakehouse, deep in conversation, at tables 3 or 7. You are holding forth. You have strong opinions , forcibly expressed. “ A tad loud at times, Bob ?” True, you are rough round the edges: you haven’t been to finishing school. But we love you all the more for it. Then in mid-sentence there is an eruption: you throw your head back, what’s happening ? Are you imitating a giraffe or a donkey braying, by any chance ? The sound that breaks out is unforgettable, and like you, Bob, unforgettable, unpredictable.

One day I notice that a complete change comes over you when the conversation changes to matters IT. Gone is the hapless, unworldly Bob to be replaced by the authoritative Bob, the Bob who knows about the world.

I remember this. Late one evening I switch on my phone to find for the umpteenth time a warning that it has reached the limits of its storage capacity. Resisting the temptation to throw it as far away as I can, I send you a text asking what I can do to rectify the problem, only to receive an almost immediate and lengthy reply, with detailed instructions, which I copy out. At the end you write, if this doesn’t work, I can offer you a home visit. Bob, I think to myself, surely this is beyond the call of duty, but in that very moment, you have captured my heart.

The next time I see you, you ask, how’s the phone ? Still not right, I say. “Give it to me” “Do you need this App” “No” “and this one ? “ “ No” “Don’t worry, you can get them all back” you say. Strangely, Bob, to this day I have never had a problem with the phone again!

It is not long before tales reach me of cherry pie baked by you which has the Pedallers in raptures, they can’t stop talking about it. Then, when riding has become too much for you, we find you in the car park on our return. The lid of the boot of your car springs open and there arrayed are lines of cupcakes carefully iced, topped by a miniature chocolate bar.

On the hottest day of the year, when the ride has started a full hour before the normal start time, you are waiting for us again, this time with a huge watermelon, carefully cut into bite-sized pieces.

You show me a photo of a cake in the shape of a Ferrari you have baked for a young relative, stencilled with the Ferrari insignia.

You talk of the huge barbecues you lay on for the members of your Bowling Club.

Then at Christmas, when you are feeling decidedly unlike yourself, and have to miss the Pedallers walk and miss seeing Dave’s boots falling apart and having to be bound up with scavenged twine, you are there at the end for lunch. You’ve brought a simply enormous Christmas cake, coated in crimson icing with carefully applied bike-related stencils. Surely this was more than enough ? But no, you have brought one of your famous cherry pies. And what’s this ? Custard ? I was in heaven.

But make no mistake about it, Bob, we know that these culinary triumphs and their technical skill were not an audition for Bake Off or anything of the kind. These were labours of love, pure and simple, your love for us, absolutely no question about it.

Time draws on and you tell us that you have been in hospital. I have related this episode many times because it epitomises for me the outstanding human being you were. You tell us that you have been cared for on a ward and an autistic teenager is brought in, screaming incessantly, an excruciating sound to hear. You say to us, quite simply: “It didn’t bother me”. I knew what you meant: your compassion told you that this poor tortured child was terrified out of its wits and you knew what was happening. You cared enough not to let it bother you.

More time elapses and you have a parting gift for us, even now. That gift is that you remain resolutely yourself even to the very end. Visitors to you return with stories of laughter and joking. And that long afternoon, when I stood sentry at your bedside, hoping to ward off the inevitable, and when powerful forces robbed you of most of your ability to speak and the dogs were kicking off in the background, you leant forward and in those unmistakeable tones of yours, you told them exactly what you thought of them. Those there at the time collapsed in laughter. Then, when it became time for me to go, I heard you to say to me very quietly and very distinctly “Thank you for coming”.

So now to the most painful part, saying a last farewell to you. You have your place in the Pedallers Hall of Fame. You have long been in our hearts and will aways remain there.

It tears my heart in two to say this last farewell. You who gave so much to so many, but asked for nothing in return.

God bless you, lad, may you rest in peace.