We’re very pleased to share that friend of the PLIRB, Sean O’Sullivan has successfully completed his solo 54-mile charity bike ride to support our charity.

As we previously shared, Sean of SOS Entertainment, originally planned to cycle on behalf of our charity in the 2020 London to Brighton bike ride. But after that event was cancelled, with a few sponsors already behind him, Sean organised his own date and route and got on his bike to fulfil his offer of charity support anyway!

Unfortunately for Sean, he couldn’t have picked a worse weather day when it comes to wind! With much of the south coast experiencing very strong winds, Sean found himself cycling into a strong headwind for almost all of his 54-mile route.

Sean, having final bike checks at Rye Bay Ebikes, just before setting off from Rye Harbour.

Thanks to Rye Bay Ebikes for joining in and for sponsoring Sean for this challenge.

Sean battled against that strong headwind right from the start, which made even the early stages of the journey exhausting. By the half way stage, when Sean reached Dungeness, the wind was taking its toll … but Sean remained good humoured as he stopped for a short check-in with safety support, Bob Cheeseman.

Video courtesy of Bob Cheeseman and Sean O’Sullivan

So by the time Sean had cycled on through Camber and Rye, the wind wasn’t Sean’s only problem. The exhaustive cycling against the wind took a real toll on Sean’s legs, causing a significant struggle as he had to work twice as hard as usual to get anywhere.

By that final stretch, along the main Sea Road that runs between Winchelsea Beach and our Pett Level boathouse, Sean wasn’t just pushing against the wind, but also the effects of the effort of cycling against it – real muscle burn to the legs.

“It was a lot tougher than I thought, and that’s purely due to the wind,” Sean said afterwards. “I regularly ride 30 miles or more and the 54 miles wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for that wind – I literally had it against me all the way round! It felt like it doubled the distance with the strain and effort it took.”

Charity support – it works both ways


Sean says that what made a real difference to him at this point, was knowing that his challenge (and pain) was for our charity. That, and the knowledge that some of our volunteers had opened up the boathouse and that we (and a cup of tea!) were in phone contact with his support throughout and were following his progress as we waited to greet him.

So somehow, Sean rallied for that last long stretch of relentless wind along the Sea Road, to arrive at our boathouse an amazing 5 1/2 hours and 54 miles after setting out. This moment was captured by crew member, Martin and sincerely appreciated by Sean …

“I’m so glad I did it because I was well supported. The way the PLIRB volunteers thanked me when I got back … I couldn’t get over it! There were people out by the road clapping and applauding as I came through, that was great.”

Of course, with social distancing in mind, although we can gather in the course of our volunteer work, we did limit numbers on the day, which meant that quite literally, we weren’t able to thank Sean enough for his huge endeavours on our behalf. So we’ve invited Sean back to the boathouse for a proper thank you visit, once restrictions are lifted.

And in the meantime, between online donations via Sean’s giving page, through our website, and cash donations on the day, Sean’s amazing charity support with his solo cycle ride has raised around £600. The PLIRB committee is delighted with this, as Chair Kev explains:

“All the volunteers here are very grateful to Sean for raising so much to help Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat at this difficult time. We’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated online and in cash to support Sean’s amazing effort.”

Everyone at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat would like to say a huge thank you to Sean for this absolutely superb endeavour to support our charity. We really do appreciate his help with the fundraising. We’re also in awe of the time and effort Sean gave up to cycle his gruelling 54 mile route to raise funds for us. Thanks so much to Sean and everyone who helped or donated for this fundraiser.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might like to look at Sean’s own blog post on this fundraiser, as it has more videos of his progress throughout the challenge!

Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we are run by volunteers and fundraise to buy all of our own equipment and to pay our considerable running costs. Since the pandemic began, these costs have risen to over £10,000 a year.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated and would, ultimately, help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

Thank you so much, from the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.