From learning to cycle during the Second World War, to just taking to a road bike in the last few years, the Jeoffroy family will make a bit of history later this month at the Prudential RideLondon.
The Walton-on-Thames clan will be the first to have three generations represented in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday, July 31, as Terry Jeoffroy, 80, will take to the roads of Surrey and London with his children Matthew and Ali, and grandson Luke.
With Luke being just 27 years old that makes a 53-year span between the generations, but despite his age granddad Terry is expected to be the pack leader come the day of the ride.
“The family link is as strong as you can ever get, I’m the daddy of the group and have been cycling for more years than you can shake a fist at, but I won’t be riding away from them, we intend to ride as a team,” said the octogenarian, who will be participating in the event for a fourth time this year.
“It’s the complete atmosphere that keeps me coming back for more, you start off at a hell of a lick, then settle down, and the roads we travel over are iconic.
“People know about Box Hill, they know about Leith Hill, but what they don’t know is the nasty little hill leading up to Wimbledon Village which, after you’ve done about 85 miles, comes as a real shock.
“But you get over it and then you know you’re on way home and my favourite part is The Mall, that’s the finish! But I enjoy it all.
“I first got on a bike when I was evacuated during the war and sent to the Midlands, they taught me to ride a bike there.
“I moved on to racing and had about 17 seasons racing, thoroughly enjoyed that and loved the competition.
“I had a few years out and then came back as a vet – now I’m an old vet.”
Siblings Matthew and Ali were inspired to ride by their father and, after finally persuading Luke to get on a road bike, hatched the plan to all participate in Prudential RideLondon.
The family will be riding to raise money for the National Autism Society after Ali’s daughter Molly was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome three years ago.
After already completing three Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100s himself, Matthew said there may be a bit of friendly competition, but that the aim of the day was to enjoy it as a family, and raise money for charity.
“It will be awesome, very special, it’s an honour to still be riding with Dad, he’s 81 this year so it’s fantastic that we can still go out riding,” said the 46-year-old.
“There might be some friendly racing until the hills, then Luke will try and nip off and do his thing, but I’ll still put in a bit of a sprint on The Mall to get over the line first.
“But it is just such a special event, it’s great to be able to ride on closed roads, to ride wherever you like, go into great countryside and raise money for charity.”
Ali’s debut participation in the event comes just a few months after completing the London Marathon and the 48-year-old admitted she wasn’t quite sure what she had let herself in for, but was still looking forward to the day.
“I’m mad,” she said.
“I don’t really ride with Dad and Matt much but I do love cycling and try to get out on my bike every week.
“I’ve done a few sportives and always tried to get into Prudential RideLondon but never been successful until this year so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I did the marathon for my daughter’s school and that really spurred me on.
“I’d already entered the ballot for the ride and I was fortunate enough to get a place in that too, so it just happens that they both fell in the same year.”
Terry’s grandson Luke, a Paterson like his mum, was the last to catch the family cycling bug and has only just converted to the road after previously enjoying more miles cross-country than on the roads of south west London.
“It’s been quite a big part of our family so it seemed natural that I would progress into it now,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part, it will be a great day with lots of variety and different classes of riders.
“It’s a bonus to be able to ride local roads that have been closed off, and see all the sights from a different perspective.”
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 takes place on Sunday July 31 2016. For more information visit www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk