A GROUP of men taking on a major cycling challenge for the first time were thankful for their warm-up fitness sessions.
Craig Taylor, Roger Young, Steven Forster, Paul Hedges and Andrew Scott all live near the Dyke Neuk Inn at Meldon. Mr Forster is one of the landlords there and Mr Hedges is a member of the bar staff.
They have been involved in charity events in the past, including bike rides, and Mr Scott wanted to take things further this year by travelling a Coast-2-Coast route from Whitehaven to Tynemouth over three days.
The other four men decided to join him on the 140-mile journey in aid of Cancer Research UK and Mr Young’s wife, Angela, also came on board as she did the ride four years ago.
As well as getting on their bikes in advance of the challenge, they did some extra training by doing weekly spinning classes at Fitness Vibes, where she is an instructor.
It turned out to be vital preparation in dealing with the hills and also the awful weather conditions on the final day.
Mrs Young said: “We came through the first day unscathed and on the second day, we had some big hills and it was difficult at times, but we got over them well and I was delighted with how the men handled the challenge.
“The final day was meant to be the easiest, but we had to endure sleet and snowy conditions from our high starting point as well as 60mph winds. I have never been so cold in all my life.
“It took us an hour-and-a-half to go just three miles and we even had to pedal going downhill because the wind was so strong in our faces.
“We considered stopping on safety grounds, but we knew we would soon reach flatter terrain and some shelter, so we carried on with the ride.
“When we reached this section, that’s when the spinning fitness came to the fore and we pedalled hard to the finish. We went so quickly that we still managed to finish at mid-afternoon in Tynemouth.
“We had a lot of fun and some laughs along the way and most importantly, we’ve raised about £3,000 for Cancer Research UK. This also includes the proceeds from charity Italian and Chinese evenings to raise awareness of the ride.
“Everyone at the Dyke Neuk was asking how the training was going and we’re very grateful to them for their support, as well as all the other people who made a donation.”
The Coast-2-Coast route goes through parts of Cumbria, including Keswick and Alston, Northumberland, such as Allenheads, Durham (including Consett) and finally Tyneside.