By Wade Wallace | Photo by Jeff Curtes
Most of you reading won’t have had the pleasure of knowing Peter Bolton (Boltsy as we call him), and that’s a real shame. But tens of thousands of you read his story a few months ago and connected with the message he wanted to leave us with.
Peter passed away peacefully yesterday morning, October 5, 2016, at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with his family by his side. Fortunately he did not suffer for long and his quality of life since he was diagnosed with cancer was better than most healthy people.
In Boltsy’s death we lost a loved member of the Melbourne cycling community; a husband, a father, a friend, and one of the greatest and earliest supporters of CyclingTips. I’m sure there are thousands of similar stories from different people on how he loved to support and help his mates.
We all ride for different reasons, but I’d invite those of you in Melbourne to join us this Saturday, at 8:30am at the Black Rock Clock Towner to ride together for one common reason: to celebrate the man and the life of Peter Bolton. We’ll be riding at a smooth pace, turning at Mordialloc and finishing at Soul Kitchen on the Beach (a.k.a. Cafe Racer) for a coffee — and his son Richard will be there leading the way.
If you don’t know Peter but connected with his story through a common experience, or if you simply had empathy for his situation, please join us in thought and cause wherever you are in riding on Saturday morning. To celebrate Peter’s life, and in the name of anyone else going through this horrible disease.
In our ‘Why I Ride’ competition nearly a year ago, Peter Bolton left the words you see below. These words beautifully embody the man he was. He won’t be remembered for the races he won. He’ll be remembered for the impression he left on all of us, his positivity, his kindness, and the time he gave everyone he encountered. He made all of us feel like you were one of his best mates.
On those dark, wet morning rides that barely anybody showed up to, Peter was always there with a smile on his face showing us that getting to ride is a privilege and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Why do I ride? I have ridden a bike for about 30 years so the answer to that question has changed. At first it was because my mates all rode bikes to get around as a teenager. Then it was to train for a triathlon. Riding a bike was fun. So then it was to train and race road races. This was it, racing a bike was great fun.
You could inflict pain onto your friends when you were fit or suffer like a dog if you weren’t. Even have a win here and there if you were lucky. You had to get up early to train in the dark before work, but we all did it so that was ok. Racing gave you that nervous excited feeling that was good and bad.
Balancing family, work and cycling sometimes meant that cycling took a back seat but [was] never forgotten. Recently I was stuck in this hospital bed diagnosed with cancer. Cancer took away my cycling for about six months. But it wasn’t going to win that battle. From that bed I remember looking out the window one Saturday morning — it was sunny but still early. I could see guys riding down St Kilda road heading off on their rides. I was gutted.
Now, a bit of cold, bit of rain, bit of wind, no drama — it’s better than being in that bed. So now I ride again. I suppose the real reason why I ride a bike is because, I LOVE IT and I CAN!” – Peter”
Peter’s left us with many great memories and examples of the type of man most of us aspire to be. He also wanted to leave a message: Get your male health check at 40. Please take note of Peter’s message.
We hope to see you there on Saturday morning as we ride for Peter. If you can’t be there, I hope you can be there in spirit.