NIGEL Sign was one of hundreds of cyclists riding around Portsmouth and Langstone harbours yesterday.
But Nigel had more reason than most be pleased when he finished the route, as he suffered a heart attack while cycling three months ago.
So completing yesterday’s British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Round the Harbours bike ride was a big fillip.
Before the incident, the 55-year-old, of Gibson Close, Lee-on-the-Solent, was fit and healthy, but after his scare the 32-mile route was not to be taken lightly by the retired police officer.
Modest Nigel said: ‘The cycle ride was fine. I did a bit of training and just had to be sensible with it all.
‘It was hard against the wind, but otherwise I was cycling with a group of friends and it was good.’
It was a very different story for Nigel back in March when he took part in a cycle ride in Wickham.
‘I didn’t feel well and noticed I was taking a lot longer than normal to get up the hills, so I cycled home,’ he said. ‘When I got back my wife said to go to the doctor.
‘I went the next day and the doctor sent me to Queen Alexandra Hospital.
‘They did tests there and found out I’d had a heart attack.
‘I did feel a bit tight in the chest when I was on the cycle, but it wasn’t the big sensation I would’ve imagined a heart attack to be.’
Nigel spent time at home recovering, before attempting to build up his fitness levels gradually with the support of the BHF rehabilitation treatment.
This was the first big challenge he’s set himself since the incident.
‘I love cycling and see it as a great way to keep fit,’ he said.
‘I did this one to say thank you to the BHF for all the support they have given me and my family.
‘I’ve raised more than £200 and I’m still collecting money in.’
And Nigel is already looking forward to his next cycle ride – a 66-mile BHF route in Wimborne, in Dorset, later this month.
Nigel has always carried the risk of a heart attack, as his father, Richard, survived a heart attack at the age of 68 and his mother, Stella, has high blood pressure.
He added: ‘The care the BHF had given my family is incredible and without its research we might not be here today.
‘It’s such an amazing charity, and I wanted to do my bit and give something back to say thanks.’