Epic bike challenge will be no Pisa cake

Chris Brown, Warren Jones, Mark Broadbent, Andy Charles, Nick Perks, John Charles and Mark Walsh are cycling from Paris to Pisa to raise money for Brian House.

Chris Brown, Warren Jones, Mark Broadbent, Andy Charles, Nick Perks, John Charles and Mark Walsh are cycling from Paris to Pisa to raise money for Brian House.

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It is a mission that only those with staying power and the toughest of backsides can accomplish.

Ten intrepid cyclists from the Fylde coast are embarking on a Tower to Tower challenge, though not the usual one.

We’ve done two of these cycle challenges before and it isn’t half painful after a few days in the saddle

Theirs doesn’t involve Blackpool’s. Instead they are cycling 800 miles from the Eiffel Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Part of the seven-day challenge - which aims to raise a whopping £30,000 for Brian House - involves a 9,000 feet climb in the Alps.

And there’s no doubt what the lads are going to find the biggest challenge.

“It’s your backside that gets it,” said Andy Charles, with admirable honesty. “We’ve done two of these cycle challenges before and it isn’t half painful after a few days in the saddle.”

Perhaps more detail than we needed, but understandable - for these lads know what it’s like pushing themselves through the pain barrier.

The group - Charles, Mark Broadbent, Warren Jones, John Charles, David Charles, Mike Hodgson, Ian Roberts, Nick Perks, Mark Walsh, Chris Brown, and Ian Hooper - have already raised more than £31,000 from two previous marathon bike rides.

In 2011 they cycled from Blackpool to Paris, getting online support from Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins and Ed Clancy.

Two years later they covered 780 miles from Blackpool to Munich, delivering a letter from Blackpool’s mayor to the mayor of Bottrop - the resort’s Twin town - en route and finding themselves treated to a civic reception at Bottrop town hall.

But this third cycle challenge is the toughest yet.

“We’ll be riding in all weathers and having to do extra miles when we inevitably take a wrong turn and get lost, so it’s very different to nipping out for a pleasant cycle in the sunshine on a Sunday morning,” added Mr Charles.

“The climbs in the Alps will be something none of us have experienced before, but we’re determined to do it because it is a brilliant charity that we are riding for.”

The lads will cover around 120 miles a day during the energy-sapping journey from Paris to Pisa and say this will be their final charity ride.

“We’re mindful of asking people for money all the time so this will be the last one,” explained Mr Broadbent, a police officer in Blackpool.

“That’s why we’re taking on such a big challenge. We want to go out with a bang. What am I most looking forward to about it? The finish line.”

The group have been training in the hilly Trough of Bowland to try and get in shape for what lies ahead.

The aim in training is to complete 30,000km, as they attempt to raise £30,000 in Trinity Hospice’s 30th year.

To sponsor the lads, go to www.justgiving.com/Paris-Pisa or www.facebook.com/Paris2Pisa www.paris2pisa.com

‘These guys are amazing - I hope the whole town gets behind them’

Bosses at Trinity Hospice have praised the efforts of the cyclists, describing them as amazing.

The lads, remember, have already raised more than £31,000 for the hospice on two previous bike rides.

They hope to raise a further £30,000 in this latest, and final, ride.

“These guys are amazing and I hope the whole Fylde Coast will get behind them,” said Trinity’s community fundraiser Lisa Martin.

“They have smashed previous fundraising targets and have the guts to do it again.

“The children at Brian House and all the staff are right behind them ... though unfortunately I don’t think we’ll get permission to head out to Italy to meet them on the finish line!”