St Helens StarTour de France cycle on Boris bikes (From St Helens Star)

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Tour de France cycle on Boris bikes

St Helens Star: Dave Barker, Dave Parkes and Andy Sloan on the summit slopes of Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales as they ride the stage one route of the 2014 Tour de France on Boris bikes for Macmillan Cancer Support. Dave Barker, Dave Parkes and Andy Sloan on the summit slopes of Buttertubs Pass in the Yorkshire Dales as they ride the stage one route of the 2014 Tour de France on Boris bikes for Macmillan Cancer Support.

In a month's time, Chris Froome will lead the Tour de France over the hills of Yorkshire on a bike worth countless thousands.

But the British champion might spare a through for three fundraisers who have tackled the same 204km course on Boris bikes - which are bikes available for hire in London.

After 16 hours in the saddle the team's plans to complete the challenge in 24 hours, the limit for a Boris bike hire before incurring fines, was scuppered by M1 roadworks.

But the team have already raised more than £1,800 for Macmillan Cancer Support after launching a fundraising drive around their epic trip, completed between the collection of the bikes in St John's Wood at midnight on Friday and returning them at 12.40am today.

One of the riders, Bristol's Andy Sloan, said: "I've a new-found respect for Chris Froome. There's no way I could get up and do that again tomorrow on another stage. Then again, they're n ot doing it on Boris bikes.

"The team are proud to have created a little bit of Tour history perhaps, but I don't think any of us are going to ride a Boris bike again anytime soon. Riding a 23kg hunk of steel up a 20% gradient takes its toll. And don't even ask about the brakes on the descents. It was a fantastic day, the guys were all amazing and now we desperately need some sleep."

The team, which also included riders Dave Barker, 35, from Didcot, and Dave Parkes, 32, from Thatcham, decided to back Macmillan with their efforts after their families were struck by cancer in recent months.

They were backed by a support crew of Paul Pattison, 31, from Bristol, and Lewis Baguley, 34, from Cheltenham.

Donations have already poured in from people in Yorkshire who saw the trio grinding up Yorkshire's hills on bikes with only three gears and designed for short trips around town.

Mr Sloan, 35, said: "The donations to Macmillan nurses make the miles worth it. I just wish we knew in advance that the stage is longer than the Tour de France website says it is. Hopefully somebody's told Froome that.

"Last year my father in law, Andy Vargo, was diagnosed with terminal cancer while my wife was heavily pregnant with his first grandson; one of the support drivers, Paul, lost his uncle John Pattison to a brain tumour in March and a friend of the team, Ruth Hayllar, is currently in hospital with inoperable bowel cancer. She's beaten it once and has three gorgeous kids, but it's back.

"The Macmillan nurses make a real difference to the 24-hour strain on family and carers so we wanted to do a 24-hour challenge that would reflect that 24-hour need. Something that would raise a smile and spark donations. Everybody we passed, on a bike or in a car certainly did a double take.

"After 16 hours of riding to reach Harrogate bang on our cut-off time we were scuppered by an M1 closure. If we're made to pay the fine then we just hope the donations far outweigh it.

"The course is stunning and there is bunting, flags and a festival feel all the way round it already with a month still to go."

Donations can be made at http://www.justgiving.com/BORISvLeTour.

Comments (1)

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6:06am Thu 19 Jun 14

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