The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Be-spoke for one like this

Thursday, 27 October 2011


From This is Surrey Today:

SCORES of cyclists formed a guard of honour for the funeral procession of a popular cyclist.

More than 120 people from local clubs turned out to honour Pete Mitchell at Randalls Park Crematorium in Leatherhead last Thursday.

Mr Mitchell covered a staggering 570,000 miles during 62 years of cycling.

He died on September 16 at the age of 76 and according to his daughter Jake Dodd, 41, of Epsom, he went out the way he would have wanted to.

She said: “He rode 37 miles back home from Maidenhead, had his tea, went to bed and then didn’t wake up, which was a really lovely way to go.”

What a great turnout for Mr Mitchell. If only, we can’t help thinking, his family had known about the Rev Paul Sinclair’s bicycle hearse.


11 comments on “Be-spoke for one like this

  1. Tuesday 8th November 2011 at 10:21 pm

    It was a lovely turnout for sure, but I must confess as I look at my shape I’m rather relieved I never had to show up wearing bright blue and yellow lycra!

  2. Richard Rawlinson

    Tuesday 1st November 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Sweetpea, I see your point. I’m sorry, and regret the post.

  3. sweetpea

    Sunday 30th October 2011 at 7:59 pm

    No, Richard, I’m not expecting to preface every comment you make with an all-inclusive round up, enlightening though that may be. Jonathan certainly expresses his thoughts in his own sweet manner, and that is what we love about him. And I am sure he is the very last person to want to stifle debate or to impose censorship.

    However, to return to the point in hand, I am still at a loss to see what your comments added to this debate, both in taking pot-shots at the wisdom of Mr Mitchell’s excercise regime versus his general state of health (about which you have very little knowledge)and, even more bafflingly, at Mr Jobs’ medical decisions (which appear to be entirely unrelated to the discussion of a be’spoke’ cycling funeral).

  4. Richard Rawlinson

    Sunday 30th October 2011 at 9:24 am

    I don’t precede every point I make with clarifications to pacify predictable angry responses. I could easily have preceded my brief observation with how I’m charmed by the cyclist and in awe of Job’s achievements; how I offer my condolences to their families; how they both had good innings, whether or not one over-exerted himself with exercise, and the other declined treatments that might have saved his life, etc etc. However, as you say, some things don’t need to be said: such padding would be verbose, too much about the writer rather than the thought being thrown out there. It’s really not a big deal but I stand by the thought I shared, whether a few disagree or not. Censorship for consensus or respectful debate? Jonathan’s response was surely a tad silly?

  5. Vale

    Saturday 29th October 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve always been a two wheels good four wheels bad sort of person Sweetpea. I dream of becoming the Cycling Celebrant – but distances do defeat you. Still I’m currently saving pennies from my miserly stipend to buy a real Dutch bike. I can really see myself, overcoat billowing, trundling up to the local Crem on one of those.

    Interesting about Steve Jobs illness and death. He was rueful about his earlier commitment to alternative therapies to tackle his cancer. He knew he had shortened his own life. But, if you read about him, I think he accepted the choices he made as expressions of a very stubborn and distinctive approach to living. In. There is a very direct connection between the man who made Apple and the man who tried to find his own philosophically agreeable route to death. I don’t think he minded the failure in that sense. From all I’ve read about him it was the absolute commitment to right principles that mattered more than – in the end – success or failure.

    Leaves me reflecting that the life we live shapes the death we find (or that finds us) in the end.

  6. sweetpea

    Saturday 29th October 2011 at 9:03 am

    Richard, your initial comments are over-simplistic, self-observing, and sadly tarnish a rather beautiful account of a man’s natural death. A man who had, for whatever reason, reached his allotted span, which ended in a way which seems to have given his family a feeling of satisfying completion. Sometimes there is a lot to be said about keeping our opinions to ourselves, if only out of consideration and kindness to a bereaved family.

    Vale, I’m in agreement with you about the life-enhancing benefits for cyclists. Apart from the proportion which are regularly squished by trucks, of course. They may have been better off staying down the pub.

  7. Richard Rawlinson

    Friday 28th October 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Jonathan, with all respect I think you over-reacted. It’s a fact cycling and other forms of exercise are good for you. It’s also a fact, we must slow down with age. I wasn’t trying to demonstrate how wise I am: I happen to lead an insufficiently healthy lifestyle and could well die before 76 as a result.

  8. Vale

    Friday 28th October 2011 at 8:42 am

    Ah, Jonathon, invective is one thing but as Grandgrind said ‘Facts,facts, facts’. Cycling is actually a great prophylactic against involvement with the dismal trades. This from the Cycling Touring Club’s research into its benefits:

    People who cycle regularly in mid-adulthood typically enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger, and their life expectancy is two years above the average.
    (The latter finding is also borne out by an unpublished analysis of CTC members’ obituaries).

    A population-wide study in Copenhagen found that, compared with those who cycled regularly to work, people who did not do so had a 39% higher mortality rate, regardless of whether or not
    they sometimes took part in other physical activities at other times.

    Cycle commuting improves fitness in men and women and is inversely associated with body mass index (BMI – a measure of whether someone is a healthy weight for their height), obesity, triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin level in men.

    A Dutch study found that employees who cycle regularly to work are less frequently ill, with on average more than one day per year less absenteeism than colleagues who do not cycle to
    work. The authors calculated that between them employers in the Netherlands could save around 27 million Euros in terms of absenteeism if they encouraged more people to cycle.

    Over a period of nine years, a study of male civil servants found that those who cycled for at least an hour a week (or 25 miles in a single week) experienced less than half the non-fatal and
    fatal coronary heart disease of the others.

    Another UK study found that people who took up cycling as a new activity gained the greatest benefits at the outset, but fitness continued to improve as they increased their cycle use.

    Reduced body fat was also noted, particularly among those who were overweight or obese at
    the outset of the trial.

    A study predicting the consequence of 100,000 people taking up regular cycle commuting calculated that 50 fewer deaths would result per year (health benefits and reduced road casualties aggregated), the equivalent of 1,660 life years.

    So, all in all, cycle more, live well and live longer!

  9. Jonathan

    Thursday 27th October 2011 at 10:10 pm

    “If only, we can’t help thinking, his family had known about the Rev Paul Sinclair’s bicycle hearse.”

    Precisely, Charles; and we can’t help thinking either, can we, if only his family’s chosen funeral director hadn’t been such an indolent layabout…

  10. Jonathan

    Thursday 27th October 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Are you being deliberately provocative, Richard, or is this the real unbelievably patronizing, prejudiced, pompous, overweening, arrogant, presumptuous, conceited, self-aggrandizing, egocentric you?

    These people would still be alive if only they were as clever and wise and educated and intelligent and conventional as you?????

    Go and tell that to their families and friends.

  11. Richard Rawlinson

    Thursday 27th October 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Seventy six is not old to die these days and perhaps he would have lived longer had he not cycled quite so enthusiastically. It’s a fine line between healthy exercise and overdoing it. Similarly, Steve Jobs would probably be alive today had he not put his faith in alternative medicine when he was diagnosed with cancer. As a New Age Buddhist convert, he came round to proper medicine in the end but it was too late. There are many premature deaths in Hollywood due to so-called health regimes, cod cures and quackery.

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