Fustle Family member Rollo Gillespie on how gravel cycling and buying his Fustle bike helped save his life.

Written By: Rollo Gillespie


It’s not often you hear that a bike saved someone’s life, however without my Fustle Causeway, I doubt if I would be in the position that I am today. The 15th October 2021 is a day I won’t forget in a hurry. Never having had any
medical problems, I collapsed in work suffering from multiple bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms (blood Clots) and a what was described in my notes as a massive central mass saddle clot. I was hospitalised, extremely unwell and unable to move my right leg at all as that is where the clot had originated.

The following week I was told that it should have been fatal, but for some reason my lungs are larger than normal, and my heart was somehow used to being under prolonged periods of high strain (this was eventually put down to my cycling). This is the main reason I survived the initial attack.

Once home I was unable to do anything as my right leg simply wouldn’t work but little by little movement came back and by Christmas, I was able to stand and shuffle about with the help of crutches. Being told total rest was needed I decided I knew better than the professional, I just needed a way to move about. In January, I persuaded Linda (my wife) to take me and my Fustle to Gosford Park to let me go round the carpark. Against her better judgement she did, and I managed to clock up a whole 1 mile that day but spent 3 days in bed after!! Slowly, this became 4 miles then 6 miles, which I found to be my limit, so I did this 1-2 times a week, until I had a relapse at the end of February. During my forced bed rest and nearly 6 weeks off the bike, I
needed to set myself a goal and I made the decision then to enter The Lakeland Gravel Grinder in October 2022! Well, if you’re going to set a goal make it a good one!

After the setback, I was even more determined. My Fustle fitted my needs perfectly, and I was able to get about. Over the next weeks, the miles started getting more and more until August, I was doing just over 25 miles at a time with no major issues. Could my mad idea back in February of doing the Gravel Grinder now actually be a possibility? By September, most of my mobility is back and I can do a lot of what I could previous to the emboli, just with a few more breaks and a bit of walking up some hills as I have not as much strength in my right leg yet, but I’m happy(ish) with that!

Jump forward to the 8th October 2022 and Gravel Grinder Day is here, with my bike and the amazing Fustle family that comes with it, I went out on what was my longest and hardest ride 1 week short of the 1st anniversary. 3 hours and a sneaky picnic later we did it completing the Little Dog 50k loop!
I still have a way to go in my recovery, initially my consultant said 12-18 months of medication and rehabilitation would be a minimum. I got there in 9! Their opinion was the bike played a massive role in this achievement. So, a big thanks to Fustle and the Fustle family as I literally wouldn’t be here without you all!! Here’s to the next set of adventures.

I have talked all about the physical benefits, however the mental mental benefits of getting out on the bike allowed me to cope with the impact this all had on my mental health. The ability to be mobile and independent even for an hour at a time allowed me to focus on the next outing rather than the issues I was dealing with at that time.

So, what’s next? Who knows, but whatever it is, I know my Fustle will be a big part of it that’s for sure.



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