Bike to Bournemouth Blog: Stephen Kingdom
We spoke to Palace fan Stephen who has previously cycled to every Palace match in the season, including a trip to the Vitality Stadium, this year he’s representing Palace for Life.
‘When I saw that the Palace for Life Foundation were organising a cycle ride to the Bournemouth match, my immediate reaction was “Hey, cycling to Palace away matches is my thing”, followed by “I really need to do that”.
In 2016-17, whilst taking a career break, I cycled to and from every Palace match in aid of Contact, a charity that supports families with disabled children. That season included such ‘pleasures’ as back to back away matches against Sunderland and Everton; and a 500-mile round trip to see us lose 5-4 at Swansea. To be fair, it also included a 2-1 win at Anfield – and no-one has seen the away team win there in the Premier League since! It was also an incredible way to see country and the wonderful English (and Welsh) countryside. It will be great to re-visit the beautiful New Forest on the way to Bournemouth.
Since that amazing year, reality has returned, as have I – to the world of work. I now work for a consortium of charities campaigning for better support for disabled children and their families. My cycling these days is, therefore, pretty much limited to my daily commute into London. So the opportunity to re-trace some of those pedal strokes from three years ago was simply too good to miss, especially with my long-suffering and very generous wife Janet treating me to the entrance fee as a Christmas present.
I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to support the wonderful Palace for Life Foundation. Even though I was raising money for a different charity back in 2016-17, the Palace for Life team were very supportive of my efforts and it’s great to be able to repay that a little. More importantly, it’s brilliant to be able to support their amazing work helping to change the lives of young people across South London, and especially their work with disabled young people.
My cycling in 2016-17 was very much a solitary affair, as I completed every ride on my own. For me, therefore, riding in a group will be one of the big challenges of the ride to Bournemouth. But I am very much looking forward to being able to share the great experience of cycling to Palace away with 29 other fans.
Finally, I’m hoping for a repeat result from my 2017 ride to Bournemouth, when goals from Scott Dann and Christian Benteke gave us a 2-0 win. I’m just hoping for better weather: it rained the whole way down last time.’
You can donate to Stephen’s fundraising page HERE.