A nine-year-old cyclist who has conquered some of cycling’s toughest climbs will this month tick another item off a list that could have been compiled by someone five times his age – typically with the word ‘bucket’ prefacing it – when he rides from London to Paris.
Last year, Alfie Earl from Islington climbed Italy’s Passo dello Stelvio and France’s Mont Ventoux inside 48 hours. Previously, he had scaled the Col du Tourmalet in the French Pyrenees.
And for good measure, Alfie Earl from Islington also plans to ride up the Col du Galibier ahead of his tenth birthday later this year.
On his London to Paris ride, which starts on Saturday 27 May, the St Joan of Arc Primary School pupil will be raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, reports the Islington Gazette.
“I’ve ridden up some of the hardest mountains in the world but this is different because we need to pedal more than 80 miles some days,” said Alfie, who attends St John of Arc Primary School.
“I am determined to prove that we can do it though and when we get to the Champs Elysses I’m going to pull a wheelie.”
Alfie’s parents and his sister Saskia, aged 12, who goes to St Mary Magdalene Academy, will also be taking part in the ride.
She said: “We’re training hard, going on rides in the countryside for 40 or 50 miles almost every weekend.
“I will have a really good go at getting all the way to Paris but it depends on how strong I am.
“I feel nervous because I know what a big thing it is to do but I’m trying to keep that out of my mind and concentrate on how happy I will feel when I see the Eiffel Tower.”
One other member of the family will also be riding some of the route – Alfie and Saskia’s brother Ivan, who is aged eight.
“I am not letting them have all the glory,” he explained.
The family was bitten by the cycling bug when dad Steve rode London to Paris to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital after Ivan had life-saving open heart surgery there when he was aged two and a half.
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.