London to the top and back in 24 hours - can it be done?

Can you rent out a Boris Bike, drive across France, ride up Mont Ventoux and get back to London in 24 hours?

That’s the challenge Rob Holden and his friends Matt and Ian set themselves, checking out a Boris bike in the small hours, hot-footing it to the Eurotunnel and then across France to Ventoux.

On his JustGiving page, Rob said: “The ride itself was ridiculously hard. Massively over-geared for the relentlessly steep section of the climb, from 6 to 15km, by Chalet Reynard (at 15km) my whole body was in pain but I managed to fight on to the summit.  

“With essentially 1 gear the whole way up, it was a struggle just keeping the pedals turning (25rpm!) and there was a fair bit of weaving at the top.  Having said all that, the weather was perfect, the mountain was awe inspiring and I reached the summit at sunset, which was perfect.”

Then it was time to put the bike in the van and try and get back to London before the deadline.

Did they make it? Watch and find out:

Rob set about this bit of very English madness to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Support, and  has already exceeded his original target of £2,000. If you feel that someone who spent almost three hours toiling up Mont Ventoux on, in effect, a 23kg singlespeed deserves a donation, here's his JustGiving page.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.