2020 Vision Systems engineers – Darren Smith and Daniel Chappell are going to be doing a charity cycle ride in aid of Riders for Health in August this year, and it’s going to be a pretty challenging one at that!
The idea for the ride came about at the beginning of this year. It was originally planned for May 2014 but clashed with Daniel’s motorcycle racing. So they put it back to August 2014, allowing them more training time. Darren and Daniel then set about thinking who should benefit from this great challenge.
There was only one option really in their minds, it had to be motorcycle related, and they couldn’t look past Riders. Born out of the racing paddock, it was the perfect charity for them to choose. The work they do to help get vital medicines to hard to reach areas of Africa is amazing, from providing health workers with motorbikes to providing training on maintenance and repair of the motorbikes. They also decided at that time they would like to do the ride in memory of Daniel’s friend, Matt Polanski, who sadly died racing his motorbike at Knockhill last year. The ride will be two weeks after the first anniversary of his death.
So what is the challenge? Well, it is for Darren and Daniel to ride from Newcastle Upon Tyne to Paris, in roughly 3.5 days. Yes just 3.5 days covering a total of 510 miles. If that was not a hard enough challenge they will do this with no back up bikes or support vehicles, just Darren and Daniel and their two bikes. They will only carry two small rucksacks. Not even a spare wheel between them! It is a crazy challenge but a challenge isn’t a challenge if it’s easy.
Darren and Daniel have been cycling for about 18 months now, and upped their game for the last 6 months in preparation for this ride. They left the comfort of the riverside cycle paths and started hitting the roads, and hills! And in their own words say ‘we are not mad cyclists, we probably go out every three or four weeks but when we do we will cover at least 60 miles, sometimes 75-100, and more recently 146 in training for this ride’.
Darren bought a bike off the back of the London 2012 Olympic Games and once he had the bug there was no stopping him. Darren then managed to get Daniel involved a few months later when he upgraded his first bike and sold it on to him. Daniel has now also upgraded his bike in readiness for this epic charity ride.
We asked Darren and Daniel how they were feeling as the start date gets closer:
‘We can’t wait to go now and hopefully we will raise lots of money for Riders and have a brilliant time in the process! We would like to thank everyone that has donated so far and also, a couple of our sponsors, 2020 Vision Systems Ltd who have supported us from the start and throughout, they have donated hotel rooms with evening meals for both of us throughout the ride and Gravitate Cycles for their help’.
Please check out our website www.letoontofrance.com for more information or to donate.