Sheffield surgeon to cycle 500 miles to Hamburg to raise disease awareness

A fighting fit surgeon from Sheffield is climbing into the saddle and cycling 500 miles to Hamburg later this month to raise awarenes of vascular disease.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 4:14 pm
Prof Jonathan Beard cycling 500 miles from Sheffield to Hamburg to raise awareness of vascular disease

The 6ft 7ins, 63 year-old, former rugby player, has worked as a consultant vascular surgeon in Sheffield since 1990 and helped to create the Sheffield Vascular Institute in 1995, which was one of the first city-wide specialist vascular surgery units in the country.

On September 18 he will set off from Sheffield and travel 500 miles on his specially made bike to Hamburg, to the European Vascular Surgical Society, to raise awareness of the importance of exercise both to prevent and help vascular disease.

He said the custom-made bike was constructed in Stoke on Trent and is too big for anyone else to ride.

He added: “I have been President of the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland and an appointed honorary Professor of Surgical Education at the University of Sheffield. I am now aged 63 and retired from NHS practice about three years ago because the onerous on-call rota was damaging my health.

“I run an active research programme in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, and other academic vascular units around the country looking at the benefits of exercise therapy for patients with leg artery disease, usually caused by smoking.

“This looked at the benefits of using Nordic Walking Poles to help patients to walk further and to improve their cardiovascular fitness. This work was carried out in conjunction with STEPS Physiotherapy practice, based in Broomhill, and run by my wife Clare Beard, who is a very experienced musculoskeletal and sports injury physiotherapist. Our research has been published in several international journals.

“I have also undertaken research on the benefits of the Revitive Circulation Booster, after my own mother found it to be of great benefit for her swollen legs. The 'arthritis' version is also used by our physiotherapists to help patients to improve their leg muscle strength before and after knee surgery.”

He further added: “I started cycling to work to the Northern General Hospital about 15 years ago after realising that I was driving past the University Gym every day, but rarely going there. I therefore bought a bike on the 'cycle to work' scheme and gave up my gym membership and didn't look back. I also bought a fold-up bike and travelled with this on the train to all my meetings around the country. When I retired from NHS practice I put on weight because I was no longer cycling to work every day. About two years ago after my wife commented on my weight gain, I decided to take up cycling again and now try to cycle into the Peak District at least once a week. Last year, I cycled 1,200 miles from Bristol to Provence in 14 days with David Mitchell, another vascular surgeon working in Bristol, after a drunken discussion in the pub.

“This year, we have decided to cycle 500 miles to the annual meeting of the European Society for Vascular Surgery in Hamburg to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise for patients with vascular disease. David and I are running the revision course for vascular surgery trainees from all over Europe, who are about to sit the European Vascular Surgery Exam. Revitive, who make the Circulation Booster, are sponsoring the trip and the slogan for this year's ride is 'Pedal for your life'.

“We plan to arrive into Hamburg on Tuesday September 24 in time for the start of the meeting before flying home on Friday 27.”