TRAINING has begun for the ride of a lifetime this July when a team of Oldham fire fighters takes on their biggest challenge yet.
The mammoth 1,600-mile ride from July 14-28 takes the team from Oldham to Gibraltar through England, France and Spain to finish at the Queen’s Balcony on the Rock of Gibraltar.
They will be welcomed by friends, family, local dignitaries and the Gibraltar Fire Service, some of whom will ride the last stage up the rock alongside their fellow firefighters.
Named ‘The 100 Year Ride’ in honour of the close of the Great War and noting the 100th Anniversary of The Fire Brigades Union, the team will also pause to pay their respects in Le Havre to members of the ‘Oldham Pals’ movement who lay there.
The team includes Mark Canning and Phil Courtnell (Watch Manager) from Royton, along with Chris Dean, Colin Davies, Tony Cuchera, Ian Hall, Chris Hanson, Julian Hodges, and Greg Punchon, as well as four support riders and four in a support vehicle.
Averaging 115 miles a day, the team will be tested to the limit climbing a heart-stopping total of 100,000 feet, crossing the Pyrenees and the scorching hinterlands of Spain.
There will be a brief pause in Madrid as the team are welcomed at the British Embassy, and the Ambassador will then cycle a short way with them as they depart the next morning.
Self-funded and riding for The Fire Fighters Charity, MIND, Cyclists Fighting Cancer and SANDS the team hopes to add as much money as possible to the £60,000 their previous challenges have raised.
Oldham Fire Station will be having an open day on Saturday May, 12 where cycling legend Chris Boardman, The Mayor of Oldham Councillor Shadab Qumer and son of Oldham, Clint Boon, are all expected to attend.
Running up to their departure, they would love to hear from anybody who has relatives or friends from the Oldham Pals buried in Le Havre so they can ensure they pause at their grave.
Make sure you follow the team on Twitter as they head towards their biggest ride yet @The100YearRide.
You can donate to their fundraising online at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BlazingSaddles2