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London to the top and back in 24 hours - can it be done?

Can you rent out a Boris Bike, drive across France, ride up Mont Ventoux and get back to London in 24 hours?

That’s the challenge Rob Holden and his friends Matt and Ian set themselves, checking out a Boris bike in the small hours, hot-footing it to the Eurotunnel and then across France to Ventoux.

On his JustGiving page, Rob said: “The ride itself was ridiculously hard. Massively over-geared for the relentlessly steep section of the climb, from 6 to 15km, by Chalet Reynard (at 15km) my whole body was in pain but I managed to fight on to the summit.  

“With essentially 1 gear the whole way up, it was a struggle just keeping the pedals turning (25rpm!) and there was a fair bit of weaving at the top.  Having said all that, the weather was perfect, the mountain was awe inspiring and I reached the summit at sunset, which was perfect.”

Then it was time to put the bike in the van and try and get back to London before the deadline.

Did they make it? Watch and find out:

Rob set about this bit of very English madness to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support, and  has already exceeded his original target of £2,000. If you feel that someone who spent almost three hours toiling up Mont Ventoux on, in effect, a 23kg singlespeed deserves a donation, here's his JustGiving page.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

39 comments

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russyparkin [570 posts] 2 years ago
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awesome!

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Things like this made our country great. Top banana !  16

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Wolfshade [162 posts] 2 years ago
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Does this mean we are no longer to complain about steep hills on our compacts?

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jarrow1948 [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I love these crazy ventures - well done! £50 added to the justgiving page.

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William Black [193 posts] 2 years ago
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Which goes to show all good things start from a conversation in the pub.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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What an awesome feat. I would be thrilled to make it to the top much less on a damn 50lb tank

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Martin Thomas [376 posts] 2 years ago
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Legends!

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john.berry [22 posts] 2 years ago
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Now that is impressive  1 41

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giff77 [1191 posts] 2 years ago
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Chapeau  41 41 41

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Amazing well done  41

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velobetty [71 posts] 2 years ago
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Having ridden Ventoux on a lightweight road bike, Rob has my utmost respect for doing it on one of those! Amazing achievement!! Donation on its way!

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Tripod16 [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Effing brilliant, that is what cycling is all about, the adventure!

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Sherlock Ohms [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Nutter - you glorious nutter!

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SteppenHerring [322 posts] 2 years ago
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Damn. That trumps my idea of taking a Boris Bike down to G10/42 for a 10 - and by a long way. Still, it makes you proud to be British.

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IHphoto [116 posts] 2 years ago
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Chapeau!! No mean feat and a great short film.

For gear nerds a Boris bike apparently has the equivalent of 38T up front and 23T at the rear (Nexus 3 speed) giving you 44.9 gear inches. Not an incredibly bad ratio on a lightweight but on a bike weighing around 3 times as much as a UCI approved Tour bike it's no mean proposition!

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S13SFC [129 posts] 2 years ago
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Wonderfully insane. Donation given.

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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Truly the Bulldog spirit !

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kitkat [312 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done that man, and actually, maybe the new UCI weight limit should be 20Kg, that would make the climbs a bit more interesting  1

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ridein [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Hope your knees survive.

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Matt eaton [733 posts] 2 years ago
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I was sure he would at least have put some clippless pedals on but no, flats all the way!

Very impressed.

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Leviathan [1775 posts] 2 years ago
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"Ventoux doesn't like Lance Armstrong,"

I don't like Lance Amstrong.

Well done Rob and team, you win 7 tours. Epic.

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 2 years ago
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1 hour 10 mins to get the 65 miles from the Eurotunnel Terminal to Bricklayers' Arms, with heavy rain and roadworks.

Some pretty nifty driving there, then  3

As others have said, 'chapeau'!

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FlatBattery [26 posts] 2 years ago
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My legs have just turned to jelly thinking about it...

Fantastic Achievement. Well Done

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apjs87 [7 posts] 2 years ago
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what a hero!

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tourdelound [151 posts] 2 years ago
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Chapeau! to you chaps  41

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gthornton101 [107 posts] 2 years ago
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incredible stuff  36 ! Top Gear eat your heart out!

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gimrie [7 posts] 2 years ago
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Can't believe he didn't even get the pleasure of cycling back down!

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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Crackers! Well done fella, well worth a donation.

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 2 years ago
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Top job  41 41

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daviddb [132 posts] 2 years ago
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First class. Could only be topped if Boris himself rode the bike up.

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