From St Andrews To Hoylake - Rick Shiels Raises £55k For Prostate Cancer After 500km Cycle Marathon

Rick Shiels on how he completed 500 kilometres on a two-seater golf cart from St Andrews to Royal Liverpool to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK

Rick Shiels
Rick Shiels at the finish line at Hoylake
(Image credit: Prostate Cancer UK)

Personally I've been very lucky as I've not had any family members nor friends who have been affected by prostate cancer. The reason that I'm raising money for the charity is that it best matches my audience demographic which is very male-dominated and prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and those over the age of 50. 

Last year I did the walk across Scotland, from Prestwick to St Andrews, and I've done other charity efforts in the past few years but this one aligns closest with my audience. The 1 in 8 stat is the one that is the scariest. That is one man in every other tee time. 

A few months ago I envisaged doing it a bit like a carpool karaoke style. So two passengers in the bike all four days, with a different guest each day, and I'd swap them in and out and we would have GoPros so there would be a bit of chat along the way. I'd seen this particular bike called a ParBike Quadricycle online but I couldn't get hold of one. There was one in America and it was a bit last minute to get one shipped over in time. The support team found a similar bike in Wales but it had proper bike seats and I didn't fancy that for four days so I went back and asked if there was any chance they could get one of these ParBikes? 

They actually ended up sourcing one in Zurich and the main reason for that bike being used in Switzerland was that scientists were using it to go up a mountain to do research and that was their mode of transport. So they actually had two of them that were being retired. So we told them what we were doing and they kindly donated the bikes in exchange for three bottles of wine!  

The support team went in a Transit van and picked up both the bikes, a blue one and the yellow one and basically used the parts from the yellow one to enhance the blue one to get it to a reasonable standard. You could tell that the bikes had been around the block a lot of times and therefore it was a lot harder than I expected; the gearing wasn't good and it broke down a couple of times when I had to go on my own bike but ‘Barry’, as it was affectionately known, did us proud.

Like last year I worked with a team, Raw Adventures, and they basically do a recce of the whole route and it is all planned out. Last year I did a lot of walks down the side of canals and footpaths but that wouldn’t work for the bike, especially a four-wheel bike, so a lot of it was on the road and there were a lot more big roads than I expected. 

Some of it at times was dual carriageways which was quite spicy but it was brilliantly organised and they would help with my food and drink and give me a massage at the end of each day. We had a motorbike escort which would control the traffic flow – we were travelling at around 11mph when we were going fast but, going uphill, we were going about three miles an hour. Downhill was much much easier but the downhills don't last long enough. On the first day we had 1500 metres of elevation so that was really, really hard.  

Also, I'm not a cyclist. I have a bike just to cycle around the park with the kids but that's as far as it goes. I’ve never cycled properly. There were certain parts that were much flatter and, when the ParBike was being fixed, I did one stretch on my bike, with my clubs strapped to the back, and I would sit behind one of the support team and I could really see the attraction in it. We'd rotate who would go first and then swap around and it would feel like we were in the Peloton. 

One of the highlights was the good fortune of how the original idea of the carpool karaoke boosted the collection. I went on TalkSPORT radio as I know Andy Goldstein quite well and afterwards I went on to look at the donations and it had jumped up £11k! Apparently James Corden had been listening and had actually donated £10k. I don't know if he plays golf but I've never met him so that was amazing. I've tried to reach out to him since but I've not heard anything back yet but we owe him a big thank you. 

Rick Shiels

500kms later, Rick arrives at Royal Liverpool

(Image credit: Prostate Cancer UK)

All through the challenge the support was amazing and the reception that I got at Carlisle GC was out of this world. They had a junior fund-raising event on the Sunday evening and they were doing things like cleaning golf clubs for donations. We actually played a huge Scramble on the 18th hole, me and 19 of the kids, and their fund-raising was on £1600. I said that if we make par or better then I would top it up to £2k and we managed that so Carlisle was really memorable. 

Then Lancaster GC was also incredible. Guy Charnock joined me for parts of the day and we decided to do a live podcast from the club. So it was straight off the bike after doing 100-odd kilometres and going straight into the podcast but the atmosphere made it a great laugh. Then we got a great reception at the Hoylake lifeboat station just before we got to Royal Liverpool where we crossed the finish line. 

The hardest part was the general fatigue. We would finish quite late and I wasn't getting back to the hotel until about 9.30pm and then I needed to get the calories in so I would eat, go to sleep and then get up the next day. We soon realised that each stage would take a lot longer than we expected, the first day was 13 hours, so we were setting off at 7.30am on the last three days.

Aside from raising some much-needed funds you get to see parts of the UK which you would never see from travelling by car and the support throughout was fantastic. From the first day on the 18th green at St Andrews at 6:30am, where I holed a putt to holing out on the closing hole at Royal Liverpool with the same ball, it was an incredible challenge. It was almost like passing the baton over from one Open venue to another and this is kind of what I want to do each year – to go from one Open venue to the next one doing a charity challenge. 

I don't want to say too much about next year but it will be outrageously harder than the bike ride and it will still involve me carrying my golf clubs. It's around 230 miles from Liverpool to Royal Troon and the idea that I have in my head might be too ambitious but we'll have to wait and see. 

To everyone who has supported and helped this challenge, I owe them a massive thank you, and also to everyone who we met along the way. This is a very real charity and any contributions would be greatly appreciated.  

To donate click here

About Prostate Cancer

It is the most common cancer in men, affecting one in eight. Men over 50, black men and men with a family history of the disease are at increased risk. More than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year on average – that's 143 men every day. Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that's more than 12,000 men every year. Visit to find out more and check your risk in 30 seconds.

Rick Shiels
Top 50 Coach

After turning professional, Rick worked at The Mere in Knutsford before moving to Trafford Golf Centre. It was here where the PGA professional started to film the majority of his content, and his YouTube channel now has over two million subscribers. As well as offering tips and drills, he's an equipment and golf course fanatic, which sees him create a wonderful variety of content for his growing audience. You can listen to Rick, too, with a new episode dropping every Tuesday on the Rick Shiels Golf Show Podcast.