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raised of £2,000 target
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Rob Holden avatar
Rob Holden

Boris vs. Ventoux 24-hr Biking Challenge

I'm riding a Barclays 'Boris' Bike up Mont Ventoux for Macmillan Cancer Support because I'm determined to do something to aid their cause.

624 %
raised of £2,000 target
by 771 supporters

Macmillan Cancer Support

We give you the support you need to live life as fully as you can

Charity Registration No. 261017


WOW!!!  We are genuinely overwhelmed and humbled by the response.  I personally want to thank every one of you for your support and generosity.  Brilliant!  Rob.

Please see the completed Boris vs Ventoux film at .

Here's the story..... We set off a shade before 4.00 AM on Saturday morning, raced down to Bédoin, the village at the base of Mont Ventoux, arriving on plan just before 4.00 PM local time, despite getting ahead of schedule then losing time around Lyon due to traffic and a wrong turn.  After jumping on the super heavy Boris Bike in 25deg heat....yes heat, I rode up Ventoux with no stops in 2hrs 55mins.... sheer pain for much of it but ably supported by my two friends Matt and Ian.... drivers, ace cameramen and source of much motivation.   After reaching the summit (6,273 feet), we threw the bike  (sorry Boris, carefully placed the bike) back in the van, raced back through France in storms and crazy weather, making the Tunnel check-in by 2 minutes, and docking the bike back in London at 3.58 AM on Sunday morning. Phew! It couldn't have been any closer. We treated ourselves to a full English breakfast at the aptly named Vingt Quatre 24-hr diner in Fulham.


The ride itself was ridiculously hard. Massively over-geared for the relentlessly steep section of the climb, from 5 to 14km, 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 (especially passing Tommy Simpson's memorial) and I reached the summit at sunset, which was perfect.


Thank you also to our supporters: Airspace Media, WordComm Graphic Design, SamuelSnow Creative Video Production, HRH Geology, Tri Kudu on-line triathlon store and Café du Cycliste cycling apparel.


Hope you enjoy the video.....


Thank you. Rob.


Background Story:  The challenge is simple but slightly mad. At 4.00 AM on Saturday 26th October, we will rent one of London's iconic Barclays rental bikes (commonly known as 'Boris Bikes' after the equally iconic Mayor of London, Boris Johnson), drive it down to Bédoin at the base of Mont Ventoux in Southern France, ride the Boris bike up the gruelling 22 kms to the summit, then drive back to London, with the aim of docking the rental bike within a 24 hour period.


This challenge is part of a fundraising campaign through my (now past) employer HRH Geology ... who have supported Macmillan for several years.


Why Macmillan? Two years ago my dad, Brian, was diagnosed with cancer. It was a shock; nothing like that had ever happened to our family and it suddenly made cancer a frightening reality.  Fortunately, Brian has responded well to surgery and is so far doing well, but for many others the nightmare continues.


We need your support to raise over £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Whether it's £100, £20 or £1.....every little will help. The important thing is to give something.


If you don't know Mont Ventoux, it has a daunting history.  The British Tour de France cyclist Tommy Simpson died of exhaustion just before the summit in 1967; the great Eddie Merckx needed oxygen after winning atop Ventoux in 1970, and just this year Britain's Chris Froome took a famous victory on the climb on his way to winning the Tour de France (see photos). It's long, steep and exposed to brutal winds and cold at this time of year.


Is it doable to ride a 50lb Boris bike up the steep slopes of the infamous Mont Ventoux? I hope so but it's never been done before.  Is it doable to drive there and back within 1 day? Yes, maybe, possibly....legally...hmmm. But together with our team (friends and cameramen, Matt Winstone and Ian Laurie), we shall give it a go on Saturday 26th October, 2013, starting at 4.00 AM from the Bricklayers Arms, Borough docking station, southern end of Great Dover Street....join us at the start if you like!


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