Dave Sims, who in 2015 rode the entire route of the Tour de France on a Raleigh Chopper, has set himself a new challenge this May – he’ll be cycling all 21 stages of the Giro d’Italia on a fat bike.
The 38-year-old from Southport, Lancashire has given the name The Italian Job 2017 to his latest fundraising drive for Help for Heroes.
He raised £12,000 for the charity in his Grand Tour escapade two years ago, which was featured in national newspapers and BBC Breakfast, and later that year he ‘Everested’ Alpe d’Huez for good measure.
This year’s 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia starts on Sardinia on Friday 5 May and finishes in Milan a little more than three weeks later.
Along the way, Sims will have to tackle climbs including Mount Etna on Sicily and the fearsome Passo dello Stelvio, designated this year’s Cima Coppi as the highest point in the race.
He won’t just be riding on asphalt, either – riding a bike equipped with four inch-wide tyres and designed by Clitheroe-based Beacon Bikes, he’s planning a bit of off-roading, too.
Sims is being sponsored by Bowker MINI which has dealerships in Preston and Blackburn. The company will be providing him with his principal support vehicle, and he was guest of honour at last weekend’s launch of the MINI Countryman at Preston’s Brockholes Nature Reserve.
He said: “It’s another challenge that is going to push me to the limit. The bike is even more striking than the Chopper. And it’ll need to be at its best for the wide variety of technical challenges I’ll face.
“I loved the event at Brockholes with Bowker MINI. I am very grateful for their support. I know I’ll need all the help I can get. It’s the toughest challenge of my life. I just hope I can repay the faith my sponsors and supporters have put in me!”
Amy Lancaster, group marketing manager at Bowker MINI, said: “Everyone knows about Dave’s incredible Tour de France challenge on a Chopper a couple of years ago. It was an immense effort. But his latest challenge is even tougher. He’ll need all the support he can get!
“We’re proud to be backing him. We wanted to work alongside someone who represented the Countryman’s spirit of adventure. And Dave was the perfect fit. We’re especially delighted Dave joined us for the launch of the new MINI Countryman.”
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.