A pair of cyclists from Hampshire who set off yesterday in an attempt to break the longstanding tandem record from Land’s End to John O’Groats crossed the border into Scotland just before noon today, but the record is out of reach after one of them succumbed to illness six hours into the ride yesterday. The pair, who are aiming to raise £50,000 for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘The Magic Wand Appeal’ are determined to carry on to the end, however.
By noon today, endurance cyclist and motivational speaker Dominic Irvine and Ian Rodd, a consultant paediatrician at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, had covered around 500 miles as they approached Moffat, and still had some 340 miles to go.
At the moment, they have the benefit of a tailwind, and the rain they encountered in the early hours of today as they headed into the Lake District has eased off.
Prior to their departure from Land’s End yesterday, the pair received a text message of support from Pete Swindon, who in 1966 together with John Withers set what has proved to be a tough record to break. Their time, verified by the Road Records Association, stands at ride in 2 days, 2 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds.
In October last year, former Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, accompanied by time trial specialist Jerone Walters, set out to challenge the record but had to abandon their attempt less than 70 miles from John O’Groats due to safety concerns.
Cycling photographer Joolze Dymond is following the pair as part of their support crew and is giving updates on Irvine and Rodd’s progress via her Twitter feed, and updates are also being given on their Facebook page. Donations to The Magic Wand Appeal can also be made via a Just Giving page set up for the ride.
Meanwhile, there is a tandem also heading in the opposite direction right now, but only one person is pedalling - Kadhim Shubber, a final-year student at Imperial College, London, is riding with a skeleton as a passenger to raise money for student bursaries at the institution. You can find more information on that ride on the Skeleton Fund 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.