Robin Cull swapped the high-powered world of Formula E motor racing for a modern British cycling classic – when he took part in the RideLondon 100 to raise money for the ME Association.
Robin, a simulation engineer with the NEOM McLaren Formula E team, joined 20,000-plus riders who took part in this London Olympics legacy event on Sunday. Much of the race was shown on BBC2.
Robin did it for the MEA because M.E. has cruelly blighted the lives of four of his nearest and dearest.
His father Derek has suffered from the illness for 10 years after M.E. brutally ended a highly successful career involving world-wide travel representing companies running international food supply chains.
Derek picked up a bug from which he never recovered while going on holiday to New York to celebrate his 60th birthday in 2011. He was diagnosed with ME/CFS 18 months later by the specialist NHS service in Peterborough.
M.E. also indiscriminately cut a swathe of ill-health through the lives of other members of Robin’s family. It’s left his sister-in-law largely housebound for years. She’s had to miss a huge number of family events. His niece's father has ME – as does a cousin on his mother’s side.
“The illness has caused an awful lot of upset in my family. I’ve seen first-hand how debilitating and life-altering it can be”, said the 44-year-old, who lives in Guildford, Surrey, with his wife Jess and two young children.
Earlier last week, Robin was interviewed about his work at the McLaren factory in Woking for a preview film about next week’s E-Prix to be held in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The film will go out as part of Channel 4’s coverage of the series.
Robin only took up road cycling in 2021, after trying to emulate his wife’s prowess as a road runner. “After a lifetime of sloth, I tried running but never really found my feet. I didn’t enjoy it as a way of getting fit.
“But I bought a cheapish bike off eBay for £500 and tried riding instead. It was a bit of an experiment at first but I started to really enjoy it.”
Now, on board a better bike, he aimed to do the LondonRide 100 in under seven hours. It took him and the huge pack from the Victoria Embankment, out through some of Essex’s most glorious villages and back to London to cross the finishing line at Tower Bridge.
Thank you very much, Robin. We hope you had a wonderful day. If you would like to support Robin’s fundraiser, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/robin-cull
Robin, Jess and their two children pictured in a bluebell wood a month ago