Scouse stand-up comedian’s five-day journey this week from Paris to London, which saw the 45-year-old ride 185 miles from the French capital to Calais, row across the Channel and then run the equivalent of three marathons to reach his destination, has raised more than £1.6 million so far for the charity, Sport Relief.
Arriving in London’s Trafalgar Square yesterday to complete what had been billed as Bishop’s Week of Hell, the comedian was greeted by a big crowd singing the anthem of his beloved Liverpool FC, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’
Bishop didn’t complete the challenge entirely alone, either, although the various celebrities who joined him, starting with Olympic champion and former Tour de France maillot jaune Chris Boardman in Paris on Monday morning, only accompanied him for parts of the journey.
Hearing that his efforts had raised £1,660,198 for Sport Relief, an emotional Bishop said: “It’s just unbelievable. It’s absolutely staggering. I’ve seen the projects that Sport Relief supports and the great thing is it’s not only going to help people abroad. You can get in your car anywhere in the country and within 15 minutes you will find a Sport Relief funded project. That is amazing.”
He continued: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And on behalf of all those who will benefit from the money, thank you from the bottom of their hearts too.”
Bishop took 18 and a half hours to complete Monday’s 185-mile ride to Calais, leaving him with just one hour’s sleep before getting into a rowing boat with Davina McCall, Denise Lewis and Freddie Flintoff for the 36-mile row to Dover, which was completed in seven and three quarter hours.
After running from Dover to Faversham on Wednesday and then on to Gravesend on Thursday, the physical demands of the week were starting to exact a heavy toll on Bishop, who earlier in his journey had suffered from hallucinations as a result of sleep deprivation.
By the time he was on yesterday’s final leg into London, Bishop had to stop regularly for pysio treatment, with excruciating pain in one of his shins causing him particular problems.
The money raised by Bishop will go towards projects in the UK, as well as helping provide vaccinations against five deadly diseases for a quarter of a million children in Africa.
His journey was filmed for a BBC documentary, which will be screened ahead of Sport Relief which takes place between Friday 23 and Sunday 25 March.
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.