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TUF Cycling Challenge in Southern Africa

(in memory of John Anderson MS FRCS)

As most of you know, sadly John Anderson, President Elect of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, died this summer from advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to his liver (you can read John’s obituary in the BJUI and watch a video of his 2012 address to BAUS).

In his memory during the first week of November a team consisting of 30 urologists and patients are travelling to the tip of Africa for a cycling Challenge to raise funds for The Urology Foundation (TUF) (you can read more about the TUF in this BJUI Comment article). We will be cycling nearly 500 kilometres in 6 days along the Cape route, which encompasses towering mountains looming over passes hewn by hand from the rocks many years ago. We will traverse the semi-desert of the Klein Karroo on mainly dirt roads and encounter steep climbs as well as potholes and slippery patches on the ancient roads. Motorbike Sport site had provided us some awesome tips to ride at any kind of road or terrain as well. Near the coast the wind will start to play a role. The cycling gear we got online will prove to be useful. We carefully read reviews of the best gears to get from ScooterAdviser. This was and still is the Cape of Storms, and we are very likely to have to battle through a howling South Easter to reach our day’s target. Finally, we will cycle across the flats to the Southern most tip of Africa and the lighthouse at Agulhas. This, like our previous cycle challenge across the Andes, is a challenge for the fit, the tough and the stout of heart!

The funds we raise will be used to support the important work of TUF to find better treatments for kidney, bladder, prostate and testicular cancer. And, in addition, to raise awareness of bladder cancer and to train urologists in the arts of robotic, laser and laparoscopic surgery, thereby enhancing patient care. So far we have raised over £130,000. You can support us by posting a comment on this blog, or by sending a donation to TUF. We will be updating this blog with regular accounts of how our cycle challenge is progressing, so do watch this space!

Roger Kirby


69 replies
    PAM WATTS says:

    What made me think of doing this again? As usual the tough training campaign never happened and as usual I have only just looked at the route. Dear God have mercy. When I get back remind me to join the bridge/book club/fashionably sedate Downton Abbey types. Pilkie the wine better be good. C u Friday.

  2. Professor Abhay Rane
    Professor Abhay Rane says:

    Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of knowing John Anderson as a friend. As a fellow urological colleague, however, he was an amazing individual who I thought always saw his glass as ‘half full’. I am grateful to Roger for dedicating this ride to his memory.

    Pilkie Rimington deserves special mention, since he timed his hip surgery to be able to join the effort in South Africa. He is definitely stout (of heart), fit and tough.
    In a similar vein, give yourself a pat on the back as well, Roger …

    Let’s show that we can raise more funds for a unique Foundation. Bon voyage, TUFFERs.

  3. Krishna PATIL
    Krishna PATIL says:

    It is so appropriate to dedicate this years TUF bike challenge to John Anderson’s memory. He was an ambassador to urological oncology in general and prostate cancer in particular. He has inspired many a young urologists to choose this specialty. I consider myself fortunate to be part of this challenge as it serves such a good cause which us close to my heart. I would like to congratulate the TUF team for organizing all the previous and this ride which has raised large amounts of funds which are used for good cause.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank TUF as I am one of the benefactor as well as participant of all the bike challenges.
    I sincerely urge people to support the TUF charity.

  4. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    The team is gearing up to go now and excitement is mounting. We depart on Friday evening. We are planning to make a post on this blog every day from South Africa. Check out, to see our film from the TUF Cycle Challenge in Madagascar 3 years ago. We will be making a similar movie down in the Cape and will post it on the website after we get back, assuming of course that we do get back!

  5. Louise de Winter
    Louise de Winter says:

    When I joined TUF 2 1/2 years ago, I was too late to sign up for the Argentina-Chile Patagonian Cycling Challenge, but the stories that the cyclists came back with really fired my enthusiasm. Much to my surprise (because until then I had been a stranger to exercise and indeed to cycling), I found myself committing in public that I would join this next challenge in South Africa. Now, 12 months later, I am looking forward to our imminent departure date with a mixture or trepidation and excitement – will my less than rigorous training regime have been sufficient? Will I avoid riding in the bus of shame? (I certainly intend to!) Will I get eaten by lions as the slowest and weakest in our pack? If I do (get eaten) it will have been for a good cause! The TUF cycle participants will contribute to the blog as we go along, so watch this space.

  6. Jay Smith
    Jay Smith says:

    Because of some other commitments in Africa, I will be joining the group for a few days of riding. Nonetheless, it will be worth the effort. Raising money for worthwhile research is motivation enough but when it is done in honor of John Anderson it is even more significant. I look forward to seeing my friends from the UK.

  7. Peter Rimington
    Peter Rimington says:

    Ha-Ha!! Poor unsuspecting Fools!! I have lured them to South Africa under the pretence that there are rivers of fine wine, gorgeous women and sunshine with no hills and perpetual downhill slopes. November in the Cape is known to be fickle for weather! Foul as often as fair, with winds of 60km/h not uncommon. We will visit areas where they only speak Afrikaans and the Englishman remains the enemy form the Boer War or as we know them, the “Wars of Suppression”! All these jokes about me being stout in any form will cease immediately as they look to me to keep them from a Boer tribunal! There are mountain passes of unsurpassed length and sheer drops on either side for the weak! I am reinforced by 3 fellow Saffers and revenge foe Maagersfontein is close!

    Please send all participants lots of money now so they can acknowledge it as you may never see them again!! Ha-Ha-Ha!!!!

  8. Ann Frampton
    Ann Frampton says:

    It is over 6 years ago that Roger Kirby asked me to come to his offices to discuss if Action for Charity would consider organising a bike ride for The Urology Foundation – following Roger’s amazing fundraising treks for Prostate Cancer – he wanted to prove that he could also cycle!! Following that meeting Action for Charity put together the first challenge in Sicily followed by Malawi, Madagascar Argentina/ Chile – Roger’s main aim – to raise lots of money for the Charity as well as to make the rides TUF and of course to raise awareness about the work of The Urology Foundation. I am extremely proud to have been able to have organised all the events for Tuf and to enable Roger to have achieved his goals for the Charity. I am also delighted to have had the pleasure to have cycled with patients and Doctors and other TUF friends on all the rides. I am looking forward to what is looking likely to be the TUFEST challenge of them all – South Africa ! – Good luck to all the riders this year – it is going to be fantastic. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the airport on Friday – you can’t leave without me I have the tickets! Ann x

  9. Peter Rimington
    Peter Rimington says:

    Seriously though, John Anderson was the most encouraging member of the older fraternity as we started on the quest for laparoscopic cystectomy. Always laughing in the bar at night at the annual BAUS meeting and dispensing wisdom, advice and good humour, he was an irrepressable force for good and I was privileged to call him a friend. It is fantastic to have this ride dedicated to him.

  10. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    The night before we leave for Africa. Some trepidation has been detected amongst the team. I am reminded of the very first TUF Cycle Challenge in Sicily in 2007. Can you recognise any of the team members? In particular, can you recognise our distinguished Editor-in-Chief Professor Prokar Dasgupta?

    Do keep monitoring this blog. We will be describing each step of our journey through Southern Africa for TUF. All comments and observations welcome.

  11. Professor Abhay Rane
    Professor Abhay Rane says:

    First logistical problem: Roly’s stuck on a train somewhere in the north of England. Hope he can make it to Heathrow in time!

  12. Ann Frampton
    Ann Frampton says:

    I didn’t know John Anderson but I am sure he would be very happy to know that the TUF South Africa is dedicated to him. I know all the TUF riders are feeling slightly nervous as this is billed as our hardest challenge to date and everyone is worried if they have done enough training (in addition to the drinking training of course!) Everyone will be fine as the TUF team spirit will see us through! Have just heard that Roland’s train has broken down!
    Will he get there in time – watch this space………

  13. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    We have finally arrived in South Africa. A 12 hour flight in economy class to get here, but the weather is beautiful and we are staying at the wonderful Oude Wellington winery for our first night. This afternoon we were supplied with excellent mountain bikes and went out for a training/acclimatisation run up a nearby mountain. Unfortunately Krishna hit a bump in the road on the way down and came off his bike, head over heels, incurring severe road burns on hand, knee and elbow, as well as several bruises. I’m not sure that he will be riding tomorrow, we will have see how he is the morning. An 90 Km ride, up hill and down dale awaits us tomorrow. We will let you know how we get on!

  14. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Sunday evening here in South Africa. 85 Km cycled for TUF today, no further injuries and the good news is that Krishna hasn’t fractured either hip or pelvis; X-Rays show soft tissue injuries only. Phew! Justin Collins also fell off three times yesterday and has been keeping Krishna company on the vehicle.
    The team morale is high, even though we have a 100Km ride tomorrow, as the weather is perfect, the roads are good and the scenery is spectacular.
    Jay Smith from Vanderbilt in Nashville Tennessee has joined us today. We thanked him for coming; he said it was no problem “I was in the neighbourhood”, by that he meant that he was in Liberia, West Africa, operating on all manner of difficult problems. He is a “legend”!.

  15. Simon alesbury
    Simon alesbury says:

    Good travels to all over the coming days.

    We’re right behind you, wishing you all the best over the coming days.

    Lawmed & Surgiquest

  16. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Phew! Day 4 just completed! No further disasters! Apart from the loss of my passport!
    Krishna Patil heading back for England tonight with a badly bruised left hip. Jay Smith is on a 17 hour flight back to America, having been awarded the yellow jersey for outstanding cycling endeavours over the last 3 days. Prof Lance Coetzee from Pretoria is cycling with us for the duration.
    Really tough day today. Cycling almost 100 Km into a strong headwind. We have just arrived in our hotel in Malagas where we have the first internet access for several days. Two more days to go but morale is high and the end, which is the most Southerly tip of the Continent, is in our sights now.

  17. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    This is Roger 2!!! The other Roger!!!! What a time we are having!!! Probably the hardest day ever as we came across the southern Karoo. Dry, arid , hot temperatures up into t he forties, head literally boiling in the cycling helmet! amazing scenery especially the downhill ! And now wild Cape winds just as predicted by Rimmo …. so into human barrier to prevent the lighter ones being blown away. More to come as we set off now down to the coast.

  18. Justin Collins
    Justin Collins says:

    What a privilege to see this beautiful part of South Africa from the seat of a bike. One of the highlights so far has been visiting the local school where we donated some money. The children welcomed us with a drumming band and dancing and it was great to see everyone’s enthusiasm and optimism for the future. In truth all the South Africans we have meet have been warm and welcoming, from the motorists we share the roads with to the farm workers in the fields we travel past.
    So far we have had temperatures above 40 degrees and winds over 50 miles per hour. Whilst the elements have slowed our pace it has heightened our sense of adventure and the group camaraderie has been fantastic.

  19. Louise de Winter
    Louise de Winter says:

    End of Day 5 and arguably the hardest yet in my view. Endless long rolling hills with more ups than downs! The headwinds are so strong that one has to pedal down the steep hills to get any momentum – I feel cheated! But the sense of achievement when we finally reach our destination makes it all worth while – plus the ice cold beers of course!

    As Justin said, the group camaraderie is fantastic. I have been helped along by so many people, but Jo Cresswell, Peter Rimington, Roger Plail and Roly Morley deserve a special mention for taking turns to stick with me at the back of the group and egging me on up those hills – thanks chaps!

  20. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Phew! Day 6, our final day’s ride has arrived, with no further calamities so far!
    Louise has survived the journey, and has in fact gone from strength to strength as she got fitter, day by day. Roger Plail has had to leave us to head for home a little early, but the remaining “Tuffers” head on today to the most Southern tip of Africa, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic; here we will have a minutes silence in memory of John Anderson, who so sadly died of prostate cancer last summer.
    I am very proud that I achieved my target of £100,000 raised for the cause, and the group as a whole has raised more than £150,000 for cancer research and training of urologists. A massive thank you to all our supporters.

  21. Clem Muller
    Clem Muller says:

    Well done to everyone for your perseverance against the extremes of what I know to be a stunning route. I’m glad to hear that Krishna is not too badly damaged and look forward to seeing you on your return to London. Congratulations for completing the ride. With best wishes from Clem and the robotic team at Princess Grace Hospital.

  22. Serena Wyman
    Serena Wyman says:

    A huge CONGRATULATIONS to everyone for such a fantastic effort and huge thanks for doing this in order to raise money to support the vial work that TUF does. I hope everyone enjoys a bit of well deserved R&R before boarding the plane home. Looking forward to having Louise back in the office next week and to seeing some of you guys at the talk Jane Corbin is giving for TUF at The Royal Geographical Society on Tuesday – can’t wait to hear more from you all about your adventures.

  23. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Mission accomplished! The “Tuffers” arrived at Cape Point the most Southerly portion of Africa this afternoon, tired but unbowed. Big celebrations as all the riders received their medals and quaffed sparkling wine at the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.
    We have cycled nearly 500 Kilometres and battled against heat of up to 42 degrees and headwinds on 50 miles an hour but completed the challenge. I am very proud of our TUF team.

  24. james rogers
    james rogers says:

    Congratulations everyone! Sandra our lovley team docter said to me once “there is no easy way to run a marathon”. And you know what she is bloody right!

  25. krishna Patil
    krishna Patil says:

    Hello Brothers and sisters of The Urology Foundation South Africa Toughest Bike challenge.
    First of all huge congratulations to each and evryone of the participant in the challenge.
    Thanks to Ann Frampton and Ann from Action for charity and the team Doctor Sandra for excellent organisation of the event. Special thanks to Steve and his crew of day trippers for perfect support throughout the event.
    Special thanks to Roger Kirby, Roger Plial and Peter Rimington for their attention to detail for the comfort of the participants and keeping the spirit of the challenge alive and kicking.
    Unfortunately (should I say fortunately as it happened amongst the best of friends who looked after me in best possible manner during difficult times) I had a spectcular fall on the first day of the warm up ride while coming down hill in a rather high speed.I was expecting to join the next day if I was feling better. But things did not get better but got little worse hence we decided to get x-rays of my hip which was the most painful area. It was organised in a professional manner and fortunately my hip,shoulder, knee and wrist were intact. As pain was not getting better all of us thought it was good for me to return home as there was no chance for me to join the ride. My return journey was arranged by two Annes very swiftly. On arrival I ahd CT scan of my Abdomen and pelvis. It revealed fracture of my L1 transverse process which explains the pain. Rest of the CT was normal. I am advised to take rest for six weeks.
    I had the opportunity to see some of the parts of beautiful South Africa and also the after school project for the local deprived school children. TUF gave a good sum of donation to the project. It was such a joy to see the smile on the faces of children who were doing local dance to the tunes of the drums. Although it was a brief experience I will cherish those memories forever as it is marred with pain pleasure complex.

    Once again well done to all TUFers!


  26. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Just back from Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s amazing estate on the Cape where he and Lady Laidlaw laid on a spectacular lunch for 19 TUF cyclists on his patio.
    He also very generously offered to sponsor each rider who completed the challenge to the tune of £500, so we can add another £15,000 to our total sum raised.
    We had a very successful celebration dinner yesterday with special awards to cyclists Kate Holmes, Georgina Stewart and Pam Watts.
    The team flies home tomorrow, tired but happy, with our mission completed.

  27. Ann Frampton
    Ann Frampton says:

    What an amazing event def the TUFFEST TUF EVENT WE HAVE DONE! Well done to all the Tuffers – you truly rose to the Challenge. The greatest tribute to Roger Kirby who was presented on the last night with the Lion award! for courage and amazing determination to come back and get fit after his Prostate Cancer and to lead everyone on the South Africa Challenge. Roger is an amazing inspiration to his patients and his continuous energy and enthusiasm is outstanding. I am very proud to have been asked to organise the TUF events.
    We are looking forward to organising the next challenge which will be announced at the TUF reunion in spring 2004 – watch this space…..

  28. Peter Rimington
    Peter Rimington says:

    Congratulations to all those who came on the challenge. What a disaster to lose Krishna on day minus 1! There were moments riding into the strong headwinds when I was tempted to say “I told you so” but there were so many more when people came and expressed how much they loved the scenery, the people and the whole experience and that this land is beautiful, and I did say “I told you so”!
    Everyone showed amazing fortitude, bonhomie and sheer guts. It is a privilege to ride with you all and lead an amazing ride to an amazing country.

    Hope to meet you all at film reunion soon and also at the next TUF ride. For those who have never done one, there is no better way to raise funds and challenge yourself. Get that bike out of the shed, NOW!

    PAM WATTS says:

    I made it! Thank God the bountiful land of SA provided such great wines and scenery to dull the pain. Pilkie you done good. What a land of plenty and beauty and colour.Undulations (a German word for crippling, never ending, vertical climbs) and desert infernos notwithstanding I damm well made it. Most of my success can be attributed to the camaraderie of our TUF family who cajoled, humoured and blatantly lied about this being the last hill to push me to the very end of my endurance and fittingly the southernmost point of the African continent. They didn’t call it CHALLENGE for nothing but it was one of the highlights of my life. To an amazing group of passionate and dedicated doctors, who also happen to be mildy entertaining, my heartfelt thanks. much love and missing you all Pam

  30. George Paxton
    George Paxton says:

    Congratulations to all my colleagues (now my friends) on completion of the TUF cycle challenge. What an amazing experience! my first time on a bike for more than 50 years!! so was it worth it? You Bet It Was! I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and so well organised, so a big thank you to Ann at Action for Charity, Steve and his team at Day Trippers, Roger K, Roger P and Pilkie who kept up our spirits every inch of the way through his beautiful homeland.
    Look forward to meeting you all at the reunion, I’m now in training for the next challenge (yet to be announced) “which I hope to do on a proper bike”!!

  31. Justin Collins
    Justin Collins says:

    What a fantastic challenge. South Africa is an amazing place full of majestic scenery and engaging people. It was truly an honour to be part of this experience and to spend time with such an interesting and passionate group of individuals and I am grateful to everyone in the team for making a ‘newbie’ feel so welcome. So many great memories to look back on whilst my body continues to recover from the exertion (with hindsight more training would have been good, and I did train hard for this!)

    Looking forward to catching up with you all at the film reunion and grateful we got home in one piece. 

  32. georgina stewart
    georgina stewart says:

    Having completed 4 out of the 5 TUF rides I would wholeheartedly agree that this was the hardest so far. The extreme heat in the Karoo and the ridiculously strong headwinds heading down to the coast made this challenge incredibly TUF and I had to muster all my strength to get through it. Instead of thinking ‘oh my god how long do these hills go on for’ and ‘I can’t believe we are cycling into gale-force winds’ I survived by reciting poems and words to songs in my head over and over. We all think that someone is going to throw in the towel and climb on the bus but no-one does, what a dogged, determined lot we all are and all the better for being so! Anyone out there who thinks this was a jolly should think again or sign up for the next one. The amazing comradeship got us all through in one piece (except for poor Krishna). Roll on India. Think I’ll train harder next time!

  33. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    All back home safe and sound now. Here are a couple of photos of us all at the finish line at the most Southerly tip of Africa where the Oceans merge..
    We now have a new maxim: “TUF just got tougher!”

  34. Christopher Anderson
    Christopher Anderson says:

    Back to the grindstone and the exceptional trip is a distant memory! However, never to be forgotten. It surprised us all how such a cross section of people could galvanize their efforts to complete a particularly demanding challenge and do so with such spirit and camaraderie. True friendships were forged and the motivation to continue to push the boundaries on another endeavour in future was rife. In my view the real heroes were all those who had many different reasons to support the cause and gave generously: we raised a considerable sum and are extremely grateful to all.

  35. tony browning
    tony browning says:

    looking at the great photos and heartfelt comments makes me very envious that I wasn’t there (arrived a day later in Hermanus).Cograts to everyone involved. Lots of great events in memory of JBA – check out the photos on the Movember JBA website

  36. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    You really missed out Tony! See the photograph of some of the lovely ladies who bravely cycled with us! The next meeting of the South African Urological Association is scheduled for September 2014 in Cape Town. It would be great if as many of us a possible could get down there to that wonderful city of that conference.

  37. Justin Collins
    Justin Collins says:

    The TUF challenge spawned many friendships but also some fantastic facial hair. As Movember draws to an end and my moustache has just been shaved off, I feel like the last physical remnant of this most enjoyable of weeks has now gone. The memories of course will last for ever.
    On reflection the week was tough, neither the weather elements or number of hills (undulations!) would have been the groups choice, but having completed the challenge together, I certainly wouldn’t wish to change it.
    This was my first cycle with TUF. Many more seasoned members of the group talked about the ‘family’ that is TUF. Having been on fantastic and memorable family holidays, activity holidays with great friends and rugby tours I feel like this week embodied many elements of each of them.
    Although holidays are different from day to day work, it would be fantastic if we could capture the elixir of TUF to quickly and genuinely adopt profound team camaraderie and the ability to engage with and conquer challenges.
    Well done to everyone involved and I look forward to the reunion in the new year.

  38. Brian Lynch
    Brian Lynch says:

    Just spent the last 20 minutes reviewing photos and gotten very lonely for the empty road and loads of miles ahead through beautiful country and good company to enjoy it with.

  39. Louise de Winter
    Louise de Winter says:

    So, it’s December and the memories of our South African challenge are but warm glowing embers. I miss all my fellow TUFFERS, but the planning for our next challenge starts now. My thanks again to everyone who took part and to everyone who supported the cause and donated. I hope John Anderson would be pleased and proud of the sum raised so far which has just nudged over the £180,000 mark! We know that the odd donation is still rolling in and it would be fantastic if we could say we had raised £200,000 which goes to support research, training and education in urological cancers and diseases.

    If anyone is wondering whether to join us next time – sign up! As a newbie (to the group and to exercise) I was thoroughly welcomed and you would be too. Hasta la vista baby!

  40. Dean Mason
    Dean Mason says:

    Finally made it to the blog. November sems a long time ago now, but as a ‘newbie’ I can only say Cycle South Africa was a great experience, and that the next TUF challenge is a ‘must’ for anyone considering it for the following reasons:
    1. It raises money for a great cause. As a patient I have benefited from the knowledge and skills promoted by TUF.
    2. Your fellow TUFers are a great bunch of people to spend time with – I was amazed at the ‘whinge-free’ carmarderie, despite some physically testing days.
    3. You see a part of the world from the different (and very enjoyable) perspective of a bike, including parts of the country you would not otherwise see.
    4. It gets you fit (or fitter). I undertook this only 15 weeks after my prostatectomy as a means of getting back to full fitness.
    5. Alcohol consumption is discouraged and only permitted for medicinal purposes (fortunately everyone was ‘ill’ on the South Africa trip and therefore required significant ‘treatment’ each evening).

  41. Krishna Patil
    Krishna Patil says:

    It will be two months since my spectacular bike adventure in South Africa..I have been inundated by e-mails of best wishes and enquiries from all the TUF
    participants. Thanks to each and everyone of you. I wish you all a very Happy healthy and prosperous New Year.
    I am back to normal except minor aches here and there. Being reasonably fit because of ongoing exercises of biking it has helped me to recover faster. I have started attending clinics and planning to start operating from 3rd of January. It will be additional benefit of operating with Robot as one can sit comfortably while operating and can have some interval rest while the instrument and telescopes are changed.
    I am looking forward to meet my extended family in the near future.

  42. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Happy New Year to all TUF cyclists and supporters. Which of the TUF urologists can you recognise in this photograph from the most Southerly tip of Africa? The next TUF cycle challenge will be announced soon. Do join the team. TUF is getting tougher!

  43. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    And just another post from me on this blog to remind you all that we undertook this challenge in memory of John Anderson, who sadly died of prostate cancer in the summer of 2013. John was amazingly stoical about his diagnosis. Since he presented with liver metastases there was no curative therapy available and androgen ablation and chemotherapy only delayed the inevitable. John in his incredibly positive way decided to maximise the time left to him in the most productive way. He went out and brought a Triumph motorcycle and you can see him in full leather gear in the photograph. John we miss you and we salute your positivity.

  44. roger plail
    roger plail says:

    The intrepid TUFFERS cycle team entered 2014 to the sound of YIPPEEs and HURRAHS at the news of the £200,000 mark having been achieved for their recent head boiling wind buffeting Southern African charity cycling experience!!! Well done all and well done all you fantastic supporters. On a personal note, I love the regular contributors who attend my outpatient clinics or bump into me in the street and demand to know why they havent heard of the next exploit or how we got on in the heat of Africa or the altiplano of Chile or the icy wastes of Mont Blanc …. and those newcomers who want to know why they are not yet on the mailing list … that amazing sense of corporate responsibility to us the clinicians who have had the privilege of treating them for their urological conditions …. It continues to be an amazing journey! We eagerly await the March showing of TUF in South Africa — the Movie!! The enthusiasm generated by the cyclists and friends continues to spawn National and International relationships in the Urological community both in Urological Surgery and in Academic Urology with spin-off initiatives developing particularly relating to Bladder Cancer. TUF lives on!!

  45. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Thanks to the generosity of Rosemary Macaire, whose husband Richard accompanied us to the summit of Kilimanjaro but who subsequently sadly died of prostate cancer, we have produced a film about our Cycle Challenge in South Africa. Check out: to view the video and do consider joining us on our next adventure in Rajastan in November 2015.
    Register online at:

  46. Abhay Rane
    Abhay Rane says:

    The ride in India will be extra special, simply because it will be different; the challenges will be manyfold, and not limited to the wind blowing in the wrong direction.

    The sights are amazing, the food divine and the wine… well, maybe let’s not talk about the wine just yet; the beer’s good though! Ann and Miriam from Action For Charity are just top notch organisers: I am sure that we will be in great hands as far as the logistics are concerned.

    Come on, join our TUF family for the best ride ever! You’ll come back with memories that will last a lifetime.

  47. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    As many of you will know very recently one of our stalwart TUF cyclists Professor John Fitzpatrick suddenly passed away from a sub-archnoid haemorrhage. John had cycled with us on three TUF cycle challenges in Sicily, Malawi and Madagascar. Always a rugged cyclist and a marvellous character and raconteur we will miss him on our future cycling challenges. We have decided to dedicate our forthcoming cycle challenge in India to John.

    Do join us to raise funds for TUF in memory of this eminent and irreplaceable urologist.

  48. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    And as if the sudden sad demise of dear Professor Fitzpatrick wasn’t enough, our leader in South Africa, Peter Rimington, had a very close shave with an acute occlusion of his left anterior descending coronary artery. Read the full story in Trends: with a commentary from my Best Man Professor Nick Boon. And reduce your own cardiac risk factors by riding with us to India!

  49. Mike Kirby
    Mike Kirby says:

    I cycled in Scicily with John, he was not a natural cyclist , but had true grit when it came to the hills. We said each day that it was not a race, but inevitably it turned out to be one & John was up there. Always a joke and a laugh to be had. He made the evenings great fun with his sharp wit and good humour, and was usually the last to go to bed. A true team member, and never a hangover in the morning!!

  50. Bob Campbell
    Bob Campbell says:

    Like Mike I cycled with John in Sicily. Surprisingly for a big man he was a great hill climber relishing the long grind, although more cautious on the fast descents. He certainly made the whole challenge a memorable event. The next bike ride in India will feel his influence. Many John Fitzpatrick stories will be told in the evenings.

  51. Georgina stewart
    Georgina stewart says:

    The first time I met the famous Irish Professor, known to all as Fitzy, was on a trip to Sicilly, the first of my TUF rides, with him sitting at the front of the plane and the rest of us in cattle class! Fitzy liked to distinguish himself. One night we sat outside at an agroturismo inn for supper and were served a dish that Fitzy described as Rollo Bollo, a name I had certainly never heard before. Perhaps he had hit the red wine a tad early and substituted osso bucco, that famous Italian stew for this new, lesser known name. Not letting anything pass I took him up on this and had a laugh at his expense which he took In good spirit. Our paths crossed again when I directed the crew into a bar one evening and took it upon myself to order some snacks to go with the wine. We were all starving as the food where he were staying was lamentable and so we were all eagerly awaiting a tasty morsel. Poor Fitzy got quite irate as he didn’t feel enough of the said morsels were reaching him and he was most displeased! However he forgave me once again and I very much enjoyed his company. The orIginal TUFFERS were a pretty competitive bunch and didn’t let an evening bucketful of wine hinder their race up the hill the next morning. I wondered what the hell I had got myself into, especially when the other Professor, Roger Kirby, took it upon himself to knock me into the ditch! However, lasting friendships were, and continue to be, made on these rides and we are a TUF family. As such we mourn the loss of any one of our saddle comrades, especially a tour de force like Fitzy. Let’s hope we get to cycle together again on the other side.

  52. Louise de Winter
    Louise de Winter says:

    I never had the pleasure of cycling with John but was hoping that we would entice him to join our India challenge next year. Instead he will be with us there in spirit as well as in the memories of some of us taking part. We are dedicating our TUF Cycle India challenge to John Fitzpatrick and we also hope to raise a significant sum to start a TUF memorial fellowship fund in his name. Do please join us on our ride and in our endeavours to get a fitting fund together in John’s name:

  53. Andrew & Shan Ball
    Andrew & Shan Ball says:

    John went on many tough charity treks- seemingly as if he had never done any training- but he always remained calm and never broke into a sweat. After several hours of fairly mountainous cycling in Sicily, Shan asked him how he was getting on with the gears; “haven’t used them yet”. And so it was, I suspect, for much of his life, sailing through whatever was thrown at him with consummate ease and without needing to ask for assistance. He was great company on these treks, both to fall in with and have wide-ranging conversations on almost any subject (with John frequently challenging and making you really explore the topic) and throughout the riotous evenings when his banter was second to none. However, I will remember him most for his humour and timing- his ability to deliver a knockout line with precision. My picture, on the GR20 in Corsica, shows him where he liked to be, head and shoulders above everyone else. Andrew & Shan Ball

  54. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    John always was up for a debate, and in Georgina Stewart he found an excellent sparring partner, on and off their bikes. This photograph shows them together at a TUF event at the Vintner’s Hall just a fortnight before John died so tragically. John loved wine and enjoyed sitting next to Jane MacQuitty, wine correspondent to the Times, that evening. With a strange prescience he told me before leaving for Dublin that he loved the world of urology and that one of his proudest achievements was helping us to set up and develop The Urology Foundation.

  55. Andrew Etherington
    Andrew Etherington says:

    There is always something rather special about being on the ‘first’ of anything and those of us who cycled Sicily rode the first TUF fundraiser. As has become the norm, we were blessed with a group of characters who stamped their personalities on an activity as varied as the terrain. The first couple of days we progressed along the coastline, admired the maritime views from little coffee shops, followed by leisurely lunches over wine and anti pasti in warm sunshine. This was not to last as we ascended the foothills of Mt Etna and slithered along snow covered tracks eventually rising up steep forest paths until we had the mountain in full view. We left the bikes and trekked the last few hundred metres over knee-deep snow to the rim of the crater and peered into the cavernous, foul smelling abyss which seemed ready to ‘blow’ at any moment. The descent over the most recent lava flow was wild and totally out of control.
    There were other warm and happy experiences but none more memorable than lunching with the family of our guide in a tiny rural farmyard, sheltered from the warm sun and savouring generous plates of meats, cheeses and breads all prepared by the family and accompanied with the house wine – such occasions cannot be created – they just happen.
    John Fitzpatrick was a key member of this first team and followed others in Madagascar and Malawi and should have been on the latest hugely successful journey to South Africa. Sadly he will not be riding in Rajasthan but he will still be with us chasing up the hills and racing down the other side, as he was always in the thick of the excitement and competitive spirit of what makes our rides so worthwhile and special.

  56. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    The photograph below was taken at the Vintner’s Hall just two weeks before John’s sudden and very unexpected death. In the shot John is talking to Kate Homes the “pocket rocket” who cycled with us so brilliantly in South Africa and Rosemary Macaire, who so generously supported the film we made of the TUF South Africa ride. We will miss you in India John!

    The photograph below is the TUF team, including John Fitzpatrick cycling in Malawi

  57. Peter Rimington
    Peter Rimington says:

    How sad that John did not make the Cape Town trip in retrospect. His great sense of fun, knowledge of the history and social advances along with his passion for wine would have lent extra spice to the trip. Reading all the wonderful comments from friends around the world is his fitting tribute.
    Joining the India ride now seems almost mandatory and from previous experience I know there will be a minutes silence for our great friend and many, many stories to be told with joy and laughter which is just what he would have wanted.

  58. roger plail
    roger plail says:

    Fitzys premature death has focussed on the real family that is the TUF cycling team. The comments above represent the extended gang – surgeons, specialist cancer nurses, patients and relatives – amassed over several years and the fond memories of many thousands of miles ridden in aid of urological diseases! I believe this group in terms of its enduring characteristics is unique and indeed is already spawning similar ventures as early as September 2014 – a cycle challenge allied to the South African Urology Association Annual Meeting in Cape Town! I love the comments such as those from our own colleague Tony Browning who says – “I wish I had done”! – Well All you Would be TUFFERS – get signed up to TUF India 2015 – Get Fit and see you at Heathrow! Well done all, Truly Well done Fitzy, Well done Louise, Ann and Team and keep lining them up !! Based on Andrew “Legend” Etherington’s endurance, we can only begin to emulate his achievements by completing another 14 years of challenges! EEEEEK — Had you thought of retiring AE??

  59. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Three Peaks Challenge

    On Saturday morning the 12th July, 6 of us (it would have been 7 had it not been for the recent untimely demise of Professor John Fitzpatrick) set out to walk the 26 miles of the Three Peaks Challenge in Yorkshire in less than 12 hours. We were blessed with fine weather and our morale was high as we set out the climb Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, the three highest peaks in the beautiful Yorkshire dales. Myself, John and Alastair Dick, Roger Plail, Andrew Etherington, as well as Sir Marcus Setchell, the obstetrician who had famously brought Prince George into the world, composed the intrepid team. Five of us had previously climbed Mt Kilimanjaro together, back in 2003, and all six had trekked with John Fitzpatrick in Nepal to raise money for prostate cancer research. This time we were doing it for The Urology Foundation (TUF).

    As we walked we talked about almost exclusively about the topics preoccupying three of us: John Fitzpatrick’s memorial event, the restoration of the Great Hall at Bart’s and plans for the Urology section of the RSM in the next academic year. At Ingleborough, the third peak, we created a pile of stones, Nepalese-style, for John and stood for a minute’s silence, remembering him.

    A few weekends ago, thanks to the generosity of the Hadley Trust, we succeeded in raising £25,000 for TUF as well as getting ourselves a bit fitter. The fitness thing could come in handy, as three of us have to ride in the Prudential London 100 mile Challenge in three weeks time! More funds are needed to continue the good work that TUF does in raising the standards of urological care in the UK. So why not put on your own walking boots and get out in the hills yourself to raise money for the TUF cause? Or cycle with us next year in Rajastan from Agra to Jaipur in memory of John Fitzpatrick? You would be made very welcome.

  60. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    This photograph is of the amazing and exceptional Bob Campbell, who cycled with us on the first TUF Cycle Challenge in Sicily. He was the mover and shaker behind the merger of Blackwells and Wiley, the publishers of the BJU International. Bob has been a great supporter of The Urology Foundation since it’s inception almost 20 years ago.

  61. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    TUF is pleased to announce that thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters, who wishes to remain anonymous, we have been able to award the first “John Fitzpatrick Travel Fellowship” to Alastair Lamb. Alastair is currently training in Cambridge and he will spend a year training in Melbourne in Tony Costello’s Department learning the skills of robotic surgery. In this respect he will be following in the footsteps of Ben Challacombe who also received a grant from the same source and is now of course a leading light in British urology.

  62. Roger Kirby
    Roger Kirby says:

    Two veteran Tuffers are shown in this photograph:

    Roger Plail and Peter Rimington hired a single engine aeroplane in Chile after we had finished the Patagonia cycle challenge for TUF.
    Roger is delivering his Presidential lecture “Flying Solo” at the Royal Society of Medicine number 1 Wimpole St London W1 on Thursday evening 23rd October. I know he would be pleased if you could join us there. More information is available on the RSM website

  63. Louise de Winter
    Louise de Winter says:

    To all veteran cyclists, budding cyclists, casual cyclists, slow cyclists and competitive cyclists: Don’t forget that you can still join the ride of your lifetime and sign up for TUF’s Cycle India Challenge. 100km a day through the glorious Rajasthan country taking in some of the iconic sights. There are a great team of urologists and patients riding and you’d be more than welcome. Don’t delay, sign up today! Details at Action for Charity website:

    I hope you can join us!

  64. Abhay Rane
    Abhay Rane says:

    To all who my be thinking about it:

    The ride in India will be very special. You will get to see sights that are very much off the tourist track, and make new friends while getting fitter in the bargain.

    As I have said before, come on, join our TUF family for the best ride ever! You’ll come back with memories that will last a lifetime.

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