Scouse stand-up comic John Bishop has reportedly enjoyed a good night’s sleep after cycling 185 miles from Paris to Calais followed, almost immediately, by rowing across the English Channel and so far raising more than £400,000 for the charity Sport Relief. The comedian now faces the prospect of running the equivalent of three marathons in three days to complete what has been billed as ‘John Bishop’s Week of Hell.’
Bishop, who had never ridden a road bike before agreeing to undertake the challenge, set off at 8.22am on Monday morning from the Trocadero in the heart of Paris, accompanied for the first part of his ride by Olympic gold medallist and former Tour de France maillot jaune, Chris Boardman.
Just an hour into the ride, the 45-year-old experienced a clipless moment familiar to all cyclists inexperienced in riding with cleats as he fell to the ground after failing to unclip in time at a set of traffic lights.
Speaking as he broke off for lunch on that opening day, Bishop told the Sport Relief website: “It’s lunchtime and I’ve done 55 miles - which on any other day in my life would be amazing, but today there's still 130 odd miles left to do. I’m trying not to think about the row tomorrow - and as for the Marathons, it’s probably best not to worry about them at all at this stage.”
The Sport Relief website also revealed that even at that early point in the challenge, Bishop, who is being coached by Professor Greg Whyte of Liverpool John Moores University, was struggling with issues such as a sore shoulder and neck as well as pains in his left hamstring.
After arriving in Calais in the early hours of yesterday morning, Bishop was only able to grab a couple of hours sleep before setting off on the rowing leg in which he was joined by Davina McCall, Denise Lewis and Freddie Flintoff.
Earlier in the week, however, it had appeared that the row would have to be cancelled after French authorities refused to grant permission for the crossing.
However, that decision was reversed by the Admiral of Cherbourg, reportedly after comedian James Corden, who helped organise the challenge, spoke to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who took up the issue with President Sarkozy.
Today, Bishop is running from Dover to Faversham, the first of three marathon-distance runs that will end in London on Friday.
Full details of the challenge including how to sponsor Bishop’s efforts can be found on the Sport Relief website.
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.