Cycling heroes of the week…

Cycling heroes of the week…

by Tony Farrelly   September 20, 2008  

Here at road.cc we're always on the lookout for tales of bike related derring do – so we thought we'd start a regular slot on the site celebrating them. Not all these feats are by those who'd normally call themselves cyclists, (maybe some of them will afterwards), mostly we'll be raising our hat to charity riders whose efforts caught our eye for doing something a bit different, but it's not just them – this week for instance we're saluting a super-model too. First on the podium this week is Matt Bunce, manager of a shoe repair shop in Weymouth. He was among those working in the shoe repair industry who took part in a charity ride to promote a green message and raise £20,000 for Children in Need. Each shoe repairer rode a stretch of around 20 miles with the aim of getting a well-worn pair of shoes owned by actor Felicity Kendal from one end of the country to the other. The shoes were soled, heeled and polished along the way to mark National Shoe Repair Week (yes there is one). Mr Bunce, 38, owner of Elise Services in Weymouth, took 2 hours and 25 minutes to ride from Dorchester to Lyme Regis. He said: "There was a lot of spray on the road as it rained in the morning and I encountered some fog at Askerswell. It was tough going at times, especially on the uphill stretches, but I really enjoyed it and I'm chuffed with myself for having completed the ride. "I'd like to thank everyone who supported me. I managed to raise about £700." Mr Bunce said he might get on his bike again for next year's challenge. So, you're asking “spray on the road, yeeeah toughish, and fog at Askerwell does sound nasty, but hold on it's only 21 miles from Dorchester to Lyme Regis… “ Exactly! Matt raised about £700 – the length of the country is about 900 miles if the other shoe repairers had matched Matt's efforts they'd have pulled in £31,500. So he'll have to do it next year. Oh, and would you have known it was National Shoe Repair Week if it wasn't for Matt – good job fella! Next up two friends from Suffolk, Mike Welby and Andy Chapman, who last week rode the width of the country from Land's End to Ness Point in Lowestoft. Their 480 mile ride raised more than £1,000 for Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, which provides district nursing care for terminally ill people in north Suffolk.?? Mr Welby took on the challenge to raise money in memory of his father, who was looked after by nurses from the care fund before he died last year.?? Speaking after the ride he said: “It's been quite an adventure – on Friday we got caught in torrential rain in Wiltshire. We were lost about two miles from our accommodation, soaked through and Andy got a puncture - that was the worst point - but I'm glad we did it.” I got caught in that storm last Friday, it was biblical – I felt pretty low aftewards and I was only riding home from work. Also those guys must have really put the hammer down on Saturday and Sunday because they reached Lowestoft on Monday. Maybe they were trying to dry out. So, hat's off! Top spot on this week's podium though goes to Holly Bruford, who's out on her bike, Jackson, right now riding from Land's End to John O'Groats – Holly, a Bike It officer for Sustrans is riding to raise for the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital and even before setting out she has already raised her target amount of £5,000, but that's no reason to stop giving – To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/hollybruford and you can follow her progress at www.hollybruford.blogspot.com. Not only that, but on her return she will be using her feat to challenge children to ride to school as part of the Bike It project a nationwide scheme that encourages children and young people to choose two wheels instead of four for the journey to school. Holly will be racing pupils in 13 schools across London from Lands End to John O'Groats as part of Sustrans' latest drive to increase cycling in the capital. Bike It is Over the next 10 days Holly will be cycling 100 miles a day as she makes her way to John O'Groats. On her return she will be challenging over 4000 pupils from participating schools in Wandworth, Hammersmith and Hackney to beat her time. Pupils will be awarded miles for every cycle journey they make to school. The schools that accumulate over 100 virtual miles a day will beat their Bike It officer. Good work Holly! Finally a special mention to Elle Macpherson, who took a tabloid battering and got blasted by some bloke from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents this week after she was pictured giving her son a lift home from school perched on the handlebars of her bike. Here what the Telegraph had to say: “Although the five-year-old was wearing a red safety helmet, he was not strapped into the bike or sitting on a seat and his mother was seen laughing with him instead of looking at the road ahead. Jo Stagg, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "It is both illegal and dangerous. A child on the front handlebars could affect the cyclist's ability to see, steer and balance, and we would not advise parents to carry children in this way - ever." So-called "double riding" can be punished by a fine of up to £2,500 in exceptionally dangerous cases” “Double riding” surely they're making that up? Anyway, our only comment is to note Elle's masterful control of the bicycle. A few years back Madonna couldn't ride her bike while holding a cup of coffee without spilling it – and exciting a bit of tabloid palavar. Mind you that is harder than it looks. If you want to read more on that just type “Elle Macpherson on a bike” in to Google there's loads including an interesting defence by Simon Jenkins of the Guardian who goes off on a long riff about risk compensation.