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Fearne Cotton and Davina McCall join comedian on ride that will show Britain isn't so little after all...

Comedian David Walliams will be joined by a team of celebrities next month in an attempt to raise £1 million for Sport Relief through a non-stop cycle relay from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

The charity endeavour, called The BT Sport Relief Million Pound Bike Ride and which we first reported on last month, was officially launched today, and riding with Little Britain star Walliams will be Jimmy Carr, Fearne Cotton, Miranda Hart, Russell Howard, Patrick Kielty and Davina McCall.

The team will set off from John O’Groats on an as yet unspecified day in the coming weeks with the target of reaching Land’s End almost 1,000 miles and 80 hours later, riding around the clock in relays. While not on the bike, the celebrities will be taking a breather and cheering on their team-mates from the luxury team bus that will accompany them on the journey.

The ride – which will be undertaken on Dolan Prefissio frames – will be the subject of a BBC documentary that will be shown in the lead-up to the Sport Relief Weekend, which takes place from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 March, and which promises to show the team as they “battle the elements at all hours of the day as they each take turns to cycle through wind, rain, and rough terrain.”

Of course, the first thought that will come to any cyclist who’s completed or even just contemplated riding the length of Great Britain will be why the chosen route doesn’t start at Land’s End to take advantage of prevailing winds. We don’t know whether that’s by accident or design, but we imagine that the team’s reaction when they discover that the ride could have been easier had they gone in the opposite direction will make for good TV.

Walliams, no stranger to fundraising challenges for Sport Relief, acknowledges that tough challenges lie ahead, but says that the prospect of reaching the fundraising target, which will help vulnerable people in the UK and elsewhere around the world, will keep the team motivated.

“As if swimming the English Channel in 2006 wasn’t enough I’ve now roped in a team of people to help me rise to the challenge for Sport Relief again,” he says. “It’s a phenomenal undertaking and going to be really tough but we’re all training hard to make sure we all get to Land’s End and hopefully raise a million pounds for Sport Relief. I’ve seen what money raised through Sport Relief can do and it really does make a difference. It will be this keeping me going through the tough journey ahead.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor the team can do so via the Sport Relief website, and BT, which is supporting the ride, has declared 26 February “Chat for Change” day and will be donating 1p to Sport Relief for every call made from a BT and a Plusnet home landline on that day.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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G-bitch [322 posts] 6 years ago
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So David Walliams is riding the whole lot in 80 hours and the others are there for company? Or are they just doing 142 miles each in relay? I might be missing something...

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 6 years ago
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the latter. though i personally would love to see the former  19

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DaSy [688 posts] 6 years ago
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I wasn't very impressed when it looked like it was 5 riders doing it, now it's 7!

So lets say 900 miles(although I thought it was more like 875) is divided by 7 riders means each rider does 128.5 miles over 100 hours, which makes the princely sum of just under 33 miles a day each.

Luckily they will have the luxury coach to recuperate in after the marathon sessions on the bike!

What makes it worse is one of them is Davina McCall!

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DaSy [688 posts] 6 years ago
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Dick Poole is the coach at the Velodrome I ride in Reading, and he did it on his own in under 2 days in 1965! Now that is a tough challenge...

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purplecup [217 posts] 6 years ago
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davina's okay, at least she's got a bit of chutzpah. fearne cotton? i remember someone saying that trying to hate her was like trying to hate the lint in your washing machine  4

miranda hart i like though. anyone else watch hyperdrive when it was on?

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Simon_MacMichael [2452 posts] 6 years ago
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Maybe with those tattoos they should get Fearne to do it on a fixie?

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mattbianchi [16 posts] 6 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Maybe with those tattoos they should get Fearne to do it on a fixie?

yeah, the whole thing. on her own. into a headwind.  19

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mattbianchi [16 posts] 6 years ago
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DaSy wrote:

Dick Poole is the coach at the Velodrome I ride in Reading, and he did it on his own in under 2 days in 1965! Now that is a tough challenge...

that's some ride. the current record's not that far off two days... and it was further back then!

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DaSy [688 posts] 6 years ago
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Yeah, Dick did it in 1 day 23 hours and 46 seconds in 1965 before the Forth Bridge was built!

The current record is still 1 day 20 hours and 19 seconds by Gethin Butler, so it was an amazing ride back then.

He is still quick now round the velodrome in his mid 70's, and looks amazing on a bike, very stylish.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 6 years ago
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i see Patrick Kielty has photoshop'd the hair off his legs..  4

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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Its daft, does anyone truly believe that this is a challenge? Dave, Tony, Oli lets get a luxury coach to support us on the gruelling ride along the railway path from bath to bristol and back...generous public; give us millions for the effort we put in.

I realise its for charity and its a great cause but do something that mere mortals couldnt, eddie izzard style.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 6 years ago
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yeah, not a patch on Shearer and Chiles last year. now *that* was a bike ride  1

or james cracknell riding from northern france to girbraltar in six days and then swimming across to africa

even going up kilimanjaro (with porters) is more arduous than this, surely?

your suggestions to make the challenge more donation-worthy, please...

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G-bitch [322 posts] 6 years ago
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That's just ridiculous - they basically need to ride less than 40 miles each a day each at 13-14mph average, and that's giving them the benefit of the doubt taking a more scenic 1000miles to do it in. I'm hardly a strong/fit rider and that would be a piece of piss to do, even fixed as suggested above.

To get a donation from me, they'd have to do it on the beer bike... http://www.beerbike.co.uk/ I'd even let them have an extra day or two, and maybe even non-alcoholic beer.

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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They should do it on the camperbike, then they can do away with the cost of a luxury coach.

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Simon_MacMichael [2452 posts] 6 years ago
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Maybe we should get a chain gang together to coincide with when they're heading through the south-west and breeze past with a cheery wave?  19

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DaSy [688 posts] 6 years ago
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I am definitely up for that Simon!

Quick squirt of Torq Energy in the direction of McCall for good measure...

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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It has crossed my mind...all down on the drops or aero bars. I expect they will be heading down the a38 through thornbury, bristol, up past bristol airport and down toward taunton. I am up for taking a 'flexi-day' from work. Any idea when they will be here?

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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At least russell howard is doing it, I have plenty of time for him. Hilarity at Komedia in Bath last spring/summer.

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demoff [327 posts] 6 years ago
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As has been said hardly a challenge. Bit of a beanfest for the 'celebrities' really, notice that the bikes all have their names on, so looks like they will get to keep them after the event. No doubt they will be having a full kit out and it won't be from Aldi so kit including bikes about £8,000. Then there is the cost of that luxury coach, fair chunk of cash to come off the donations to cover the costs.

Or am I just being cynical and everything will be donated free of charge.

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STATO [502 posts] 6 years ago
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mikem1967 wrote:

Or am I just being cynical and everything will be donated free of charge.

Dont be silly, its already been paid for, by the BBC :0)

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AndyyK [39 posts] 6 years ago
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I love (or is that hate) the fact that celebs take a few days off from earning their megabucks to do something that, ok on this occasion is a slight challenge (for them, as it would be for me!) but it's us mere mortals that are meant to be impressed and dig in to our pocket.

The kid that cycled round his local park is more inspiring than these lot.

Road cc should challenge them and keep their tempo up, show them how it should be done.