I COULD have popped in to any of the countless bars in Amsterdam for a beer after completing my charity ride from Barnsley, so why The Old Sailor got my attention I don't really know.

All I can say is that I am glad I did, for if I had gone elsewhere I would never have met Michael.

Over a glass of Amstel with his wife Moira we got chatting about what brought me to this beautiful city.

"I've just cycled with 400 others from Yorkshire and London," I said.

"Why did you do that?" came back the reply.

"Well, we were raising money and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK."

With that Moira's eyes lit up.

"Michael, did you hear that? He was raising money for Prostate Cancer UK?"

It turned out Michael, a former rugby player and pub landlord from York, had recently undergone a major operation after being diagnosed with the disease.

Showing off his scars, he went on to tell me this was the third time he had had a different form of cancer.

We talked for more than an hour about our shared experiences of the disease - my father underwent his own treatment last year - before the pair of them headed off to continue their boat cruise of European cities.

It was an apt way to end what had been a wonderful three days of cycling, fundraising and yes, a bit of drinking - a chance meeting with a man who had, thanks in part to greater awareness of the disease, taken it on and was now well on the way to coming through the other side.

Prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, with the number of men dying every year overtaking the number of women dying from breast cancer.

Current figures show that 11,819 men are dying from prostate cancer in the UK every year - the equivalent of one man every 45 minutes.

That means that every pound of the £485,000 we have raised so far from the 140-mile plus ride will go towards investing in research to find better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent prostate cancer, and supporting men and their families affected by the disease.

People like the family of Paul Dear, who should have joined us in Holland, but sadly died just a few days before we set off.

Paul's son and daughter, Adam and Laura, took part in the event, despite their personal tragedy, crossing the line outside the Amsterdam Arena to rapturous applause. The Team Dear to Amsterdam 2018 donation page stands at almost £67,000.

"It means a heck of a lot (to be here)," said Laura afterwards. "Obviously, dad should have been here riding with me and my brother, but he can't be as he passed away on Wednesday. There aren't words to say how much it means to have got to this point now and to have done it for him."

There were stories just like this wherever you turned. People who had lost loved ones, people going through the disease themselves, people whose friends' lives had been saved because they had told them they were taking part and so had gone and got themselves checked out.

But this ride was as much a celebration as it was a commemoration. A celebration of men - and a decent number of women - coming together and sharing a love of cycling and football.

There were teams represented the length of breadth of the country - and some from further afield - and while there was a great deal of banter to be had, both during the ride and over beer of an evening, traditional rivalries were put to one side in a spirit of unity.

It didn't all go smoothly, one chap turned up at the ferry terminal with his wife's passport, there were a few crashes, a bloke in a sling told me in the bar on Saturday night how he had suffered a shoulder separation but was determined to celebrate regardless, the anaesthetising effect of a cold beer dulling the undoubted pain he was in. But, in the main, the majority of us made it to the finish unscathed and bursting with pride having raised the profile of Prostate Cancer UK wherever we went.

Our journey had come to an end, but for people like Michael - the man I met in the bar - there are many more journeys still to be completed.

Hopefully, our efforts will go some way to ensuring a successful outcome for all.