The man who rode the full route of the Tour de France on a 1970s Raleigh Chopper has said that he did the charity ride in part to prove that you don’t need the highest tech equipment to complete the gruelling challenge.
Dave Sims, a 36 year old personal trainer, rode the children’s bike for 117 hours this month, a 15.9kg Mark 3 Raleigh Chopper with a single chain ring, two pointless tennis balls and 38 reflective spokey dokeys. He has however modified it to give himself a choice of eight gears, rather than the standard three.
"One of my main things is what's more important, the rider or the bike?" Sims told the Daily Mail.
"I'm a huge believer in the engine. I couldn't win the Tour de France on a kids' bike, but I wanted to show people that if you do the right things you can do amazing things on a cheap bike."
He said that the experience was agonising, however, and took its toll physically.
He said: “It was just pure exhaustion and fatigue, my body just said that's enough. I was feeling pretty lousy on Sunday, my camp site was on actually the course and I couldn't get out of bed to watch it.
“I finished the last stage in Paris and all the excitement and adrenaline wore off I guess, it's certainly taken it's toll on me. I'm just under 11 stone now and I'm usually 12, so I feel pretty lean.
“I was hoping to raise £5,000 for Help for Heroes but it's on £6,500 now and still going up every day." [at time of writing it is now over £7,500]
"I met Dave Brailsford and he had a go, and some of the riders did as well," Sims said. "It was quite amazing seeing them on the Chopper, it was all a bit surreal."
He now aims to return to the Alps later this year with his Chopper, to ride the Tour's Alpe d'Huez mountain stage nine and a half times, the equivalent of cycling up Everest.
As we reported last month, shortly after Sims finished stage 18, he received a video message from Froome, who said: “Just wanted to wish you luck in reaching Paris. Team Chop has done a fantastic job up until now. I’m pretty impressed you made it this far, but you’ve still got to get up Alpe d’Huez. Hope to see you in Paris.”
Sims was riding two days ahead of the race and therefore had first-hand experience of what’s to come for Froome and the other riders. Expressed via Twitter, his view of stage 19 was simply: “Ouch.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.