A BBC TV presenter will this month attempt to pedal a rickshaw 484 miles from Edinburgh to London in aid of the annual BBC Children In Need appeal. Former Blue Peter host Matt Baker’s ride is timed to end during a live special for the charity’s annual appeal during the programme he currently presents, The One Show, on the evening of Friday 18 November.
As if the prospect of a near 500-mile journey under his own steam weren’t enough, Matt will also be carrying a passenger throughout the journey, other than on steep descents, where there’s a danger of the passenger falling out, and on sharp climbs, where the effort of hauling both the rickshaw and passenger uphill is too arduous – instead, they’ll get out and give him a push. Those passengers will include some surprise guests, as well as Pudsey Bear, the Children In Need mascot.
The journey starts next Friday morning, 11 November, at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, and that evening The One Show will feature live coverage from Hawick in the Scottish Borders, Matt’s first overnight stop. The programme, screened each weekday evening from 7-7.30pm, will also provide live updates on his journey the following week, culminating in his arrival in London.
Day 1 Edinburgh to Hawick (53.5 miles)
Day 2 Hawick to Hexham (59.2 miles)
Day 3 Hexham to Barnard Castle (49.0 miles)
Day 4 Barnard Castle to York (70.6 miles)
Day 5 York to Lincoln (78.0 miles)
Day 6 Lincoln to Peterborough (73.2 miles)
Day 7 Peterborough to Cambridge (41.0 miles)
Day 8 Cambridge to London (59.3 miles)
"For this year's BBC Children in Need I'm hitting the roads of Britain for a relentless Rickshaw Challenge,” said Matt, who during his Blue Peter days was put through his paces by the Royal Marines, spending a week with them, and also set a world record for a tandem hang-glider flight.
“I'm hoping to arrive in time for The One Show's live Children in Need special, but the hilly roads, winter weather and the tough schedule will not make it easy,” he continued.
"I'm going to need your help and support so please get behind me, turn up and cheer me on. Any support would be greatly appreciated, even something tasty to keep my strength up. Hopefully I'll see you on my rickshaw route to raise thousands!"
David Ramsden, BBC Children in Need Chief Executive, added: "It is fantastic that Matt is undertaking this massive challenge. Pedalling 484 miles in eight days through the November weather will be an incredible achievement. He's going to raise us lots of money that will help us change the lives of disadvantaged young people across the UK who are facing their own challenges."
Donations of £5 can be made by texting "MATT" to 70705, with texts costing £5 plus one standard rate message, with £5 going to BBC Children in Need.
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.