Raleigh Chopper v Mont Ventoux as Henley lawyer rides to fight cancer

Matt Richardson tackles super-tough climb on brilliantly inappropriate bike

by John Stevenson   May 9, 2014  

Matt Richardson on a training ride ahead of his ascent of Mont Ventoux (©Matt Richardson) copy

Matt Richardson is our new favourite person in the whole world. The 47-year-old solicitor from Henley-on-Thames is riding up Mont Ventoux today — on an unmodifed 1970s Raleigh Chopper Mk 2. Chapeau!

As well as the fame, and adulation of cycling websites, Richardson’s toiling up the notoriously hard 22km, 1,617m climb to raise money for cancer charity Leuka

It’s a cause that’s close to home for Richardson, who lost his father to cancer 15 years ago. Last night, he wrote on his blog: “He was 55. I'm still angry he was taken so young. I'll be using that tomorrow. I hope the money I'm raising can play at least a small part in reducing the number of people that have to go through what my family is still enduring.”

Matt Richardson and his original-spec Chopper (©Matt Richardson)

The Chopper he’s riding is in original trim, including the gearing. Last night, that was giving Richardson a few worries.

He wrote: “The Chopper's easiest gear is not easy enough to allow much cadence in the forested section of the mountain where the steeper gradient is relentless. This means that more demands are made on the muscles and they are more likely to succumb to seizure, particularly after a long period of stress. I don't want to let everyone down. If I fail it'll be because either the bike or me is broken. I feel that if I can get on to the open ground above the tree line where the gradient settles a bit, I've a good chance of success.”

At least he isn’t having to battle the worst of the winds for which Ventoux is famous. The forecast is for 30km/h breezes; rather less severe than the 300km/h monsters that often close the road over the summit in winter.

Nevertheless, Ventoux is never easy. As well as its sheer length and
8.9 percent grade over the last 16km, the naked slopes of the upper mountain mean rider is exposed to the elements whatever they are.

So far, Richardson has raised around £1,600. “I can scarcely believe how generous everyone is being,” he said. “The fundraising page shows over £1,500 including gift aid has been raised thus far and more is promised. I've also received so many thoughtful messages of support. I want to thank everyone.”

To add your donation to the pot, go to his page on Just Giving

15 user comments

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Stats from his ride apparently:

2hr 10m
overtaken by 11 cyclists using these new fangled carbon lightweight bikes

Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10154149061890195

posted by pirnie [221 posts]
9th May 2014 - 14:21



We do have some crazy cyclists out there.

posted by Wolfshade [146 posts]
9th May 2014 - 14:26


Excellent. Chapeau x2!

posted by NickK123 [94 posts]
9th May 2014 - 14:29


Excellent indeed.

Well we've had a Boris Bike, now a Chopper. What next? An ordinary?

Training is like fighting a gorilla. I've never got around to that either.

posted by SteppenHerring [300 posts]
9th May 2014 - 14:58


coming down is likely to be fun as well ...

posted by pz1800 [24 posts]
9th May 2014 - 15:30



nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [352 posts]
9th May 2014 - 15:35


Arse lard?

don simon's picture

posted by don simon [586 posts]
9th May 2014 - 15:57


If he'd ridden the (rare) five speed model of the Chopper he'd have had a slightly better spread of ratios and would probably have beaten another couple of riders on carbon fibre bikes.

Chapeau for the dude


posted by OldRidgeback [2581 posts]
9th May 2014 - 16:54


Blah blah blah carbon bike, blah blah blah oh look at the silly MAMILS, blah bah blah [insert condescending cut and paste comment here]. Well done for riding up Ventoux on a chopper. Erm…that’s it.

posted by iamelectron [161 posts]
9th May 2014 - 17:54


Total respect. How can someone on a carbon fibre road bike be slower than that? And he was wearing cut-off jeans. Shame on them!

posted by darrenleroy [209 posts]
9th May 2014 - 18:56


iamelectron wrote:
Blah blah blah carbon bike, blah blah blah oh look at the silly MAMILS, blah bah blah [insert condescending cut and paste comment here]. Well done for riding up Ventoux on a chopper. Erm…that’s it.

I think you're the first to mention MAMILS here, so wind your neck in.

Anyone who can make it up Ventoux on a Chopper has earned the bragging rights. The fact that he passed anyone only serves to highlight what a spectacular individual performance this was and is entirely valid.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [384 posts]
9th May 2014 - 20:04


Absolutely first class!

With what I remember of the Chopper....it wouldn't stop either, so I hoped you got back safe.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [892 posts]
9th May 2014 - 20:31


Donated, because anyone doing something that mental deserves it.

posted by nicholassmith [93 posts]
9th May 2014 - 23:27


A gallant achievement and a most generous one. Truly inspiring.

To all cyclists climbing the Ventoux, each within his own capabilities, well done. An encouragement for all of us to embrace sports, the open, cycling.

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [96 posts]
10th May 2014 - 5:23


Yer off your bl33ding nut Wonka!

Courtesy the late and much missed Roy Kinnear

posted by WashoutWheeler [29 posts]
12th May 2014 - 13:53