BBC TV presenter Matt Baker is almost within touching distance of London on the final day of his 484-mile Children In Need Rickshaw Challenge, which began last Saturday morning in Edinburgh. With more than £835,000 already raised, the big question is whether he can hit the £1 million mark, and we’ll be bringing you regular updates of his progress throughout the rest of the day.
On his way south from the Scottish capital, former Blue Peter presenter Matt has had to combat saddle sores and knee pains, the low point being Wednesday’s 78-mile ride from York to Lincoln, the longest of the week-long challenge, which took 16 hours to complete.
According to the BBC, interest in his ride has grown as the week has gone by, with crowds thronging the streets in the towns and villages he passes through to cheer him on. That’s been helped by nightly updates on the programme he now presents, The One Show, although at times he hasn’t been able to take part in live-to-air segments due to still being on the road.
While celebrities taking to bikes to raise money for good causes is nothing new, it’s worth reflecting for a moment on the scale of his achievement as he heads towards the conclusion of his trip, timed to coincide with The One Show’s live coverage of the annual BBC Children In Need Appeal tonight.
While the reflex action of some regular road cyclists might be to look at the daily distances Matt is covering, shrug their shoulders and say, ‘so what?’ it’s an obvious but easily overlooked point that he isn’t undertaking his ride on a road bike that comes in at around the UCI’s minimum weight limit of 6.8kg. Factor in the passengers he’s carrying, and it’s a big, big load he’s hauling.
As of yesterday evening, donations stood at £835,534. That figure hasn’t been updated overnight, and we expect the final amount raised will only be revealed when he completes his ride tonight. We’re guessing it will hit seven figures.
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.
Matt’s now heading through Hertfordshire and the Lea Valley on his way into London, and you can follow his progress on this map. If you’re nearby, why not pop out and give him a wave as he goes by?
Where’s Matt? Updates
12 noon Heading through Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, on his way to Broxbourne (passing through at 1225) then Waltham Cross.
1pm Just passing through Waltham Cross, next stop Enfield!
2.15pm Now in the heart of North London, exactly halfway between the Spurs and Arsenal grounds, on Seven Sisters Road heading for Finsbury Park.
3pm Passed through the Eurogoth epicentre Camden High St and now on his way to leafy (well, less so at this time of year) Regent's Park
4pm Now in Regent's Park, on Outer Circle close to junction of Avenue Road. Three hours to go until The One Show's Children in Need Special, so plenty of time to get over to White City! Route next takes him through St John's Wood, down Lisson Grove and Seymour Place to Marble Arch then the Bayswater Road.
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.