CYCLING from Lands End to John O’Groats is enough of a challenge for any cyclist – but one man raising funds for a Solihull hospice is riding the return leg too.
‘Virtual cyclist’ Dave Young is pedalling the 1880 miles on top of rollers in his back garden.
Dave has never cycled the ‘Lejogle’ route physically, but during the coronavirus lockdown he is traversing the length of Great Britain twice.
The fundraising effort is in aid of the Solihull Marie Curie hospice, where nurses cared for Dave’s friend Martin ‘Pash’ Pashley.
Acocks Green man Dave is livestreaming his rides from his home in Isleworth, London, to followers on Facebook.
He has also plotted a virtual John O’Groats to Lands End route, but he admitted he may be enjoying faster riding than usual.
“You can close off your mind on the bike with the movement of the rollers,” he said. “It’s no different to riding a bike, but the real mental challenge is riding two and half thousand kilometres on a cylinder that is a few inches wide.
“My average miles per day are a lot faster than they would be in real life, normally if you did the route on a solid effort you would look to do it in nine days, but I am doing it in instalments each day through lockdown.”
Dave is close to making his target of £4000, and his home straight will be celebrated this Sunday (May 24) with a livestreamed gig from his brother in Vancouver, though without the sound of the sea at Land’s End.
Though now living in West London, Dave felt strongly he wanted the donations to support the Solihull hospice.
“My friend Martin and I both worked at British Rail in Birmingham in the 80s, I left after ten years, but Martin has always lived in Solihull.
“We always caught up when we could go to watch England at Twickenham, but sadly he was diagnosed with a tumour, so we rekindled the connection before he was admitted to the Marie Curie hospice in Solihull, where he was so well looked after.”
“My friends and family and Martin’s family have really felt like part of a big team that is doing this. I’m doing the pedalling but I have the backing of a team effort. Marie Curie is there for us all and given the pandemic the funding is stressed for them.”
“Everyone recognises the importance of the hospice and it is there for everyone’s families.”
Donations to Dave Young’s appeal can be made via www.gofundme.com/f/lejog-and-back-in-my-own-back-yard-lockdown-2020.