A group of cyclists have ridden up one of cycling’s most inconic mountains, Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, on Boris Bikes belonging to London’s Santander Cycles bike hire scheme.
The team, put together by London-based cycle clothing company Huez*, had been aiming to complete the return journey from the British capital to the French climb, famous for its 21 hairpins, in 24 hours.
Setting off at 1am on Friday morning they just missed their target, however, due to a combination of train delays and a routine check by French police costing them time.
The ride was held to coincide with today’s Stroke Awareness Month and was undertaken on behalf of the Stroke Association and the National Brain Appeal with the support of Santander Cycles.
The ascent of Alpe d’Huez itself was completed by the 10 riders in 1 hour 40 minutes.
Lorenzo Curci, founder of Huez*, said: “It was a long but unbelievably rewarding day. Everyone did incredibly well and we are really pleased to have raised all this money for the vital work that the Stroke Association and the National Brain Appeal does.
“It's a shame that a delay with the train to France and a stop by the French police meant we complete the challenge quite in 24 hours but we're still really happy with the result."
The ride, which was devised by Curci and his Huez* co-founders after a friend’s father passed away following a stroke, has so far raised nearly £18,000 towards their target of £50,000 for the charities through Virgin Money Giving.
It’s not the first time a bike from London’s hire fleet has been used to tackle one of the Tour de France’s signature climbs in this way; in 2013, Rob Holden pedalled one up Mont Ventoux, and with the help of friends managed to get it back to its docking station in south London just under 24 hours after they had picked it up.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.