Saffron Walden man takes on cycling challenge for mental health charity

PUBLISHED: 08:47 06 March 2019

Treatt colleagues taking on the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling challenge for mental health charity Mind. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Treatt colleagues taking on the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling challenge for mental health charity Mind. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A man from Saffron Walden will be taking on a daunting cycle challenge with two colleagues to raise money for mental health charity Mind.

Colleagues Bruce Sinclair, from Saffron Walden, and Ken Ferguson, along with former colleague Barry Kirby, will start the Paris-Brest-Paris challenge on August 19 at 5am.

Their task is to complete 750 miles in less than 84 hours, cycling back and forth between the capital of France and the Atlantic city of Brest.

The official route involves 15 timed checkpoints as they crisscross the Loire Valley and Brittany. In order to achieve the 200 miles per day, there will be little time for sleep, just a couple of hours each night, with sleep deprivation being one of the hardest things to prepare for, according to Mr Sinclair, who works with Mr Ferguson at Treatt, an ingredients supplier based in Suffolk.

This is the final event in a trilogy of long-distance bike rides the team is undertaking in order to raise money for Mind.

The previous events have seen them complete the 900-mile London-Edinburgh-London challenge in just under five days in 2017 and, in 2018, they became the first amateur cyclists to conquer the 500-mile circumnavigation of the north coast of Scotland (NC500) non-stop in just over two days. The team have so far raised more than £12,000. The Paris-Brest-Paris is the oldest established cycling event in the world, predating the Tour de France by more than a decade.

The riders have been training hard for the last five months to build the fitness endurance that the event requires, along with competing in pre-qualification and qualification rides. The challenge is open to more than 6,000 cyclists globally and competition to secure a place is fierce.

“We started back in early September with a 375-mile non-stop, pre-qualification ride. Pedalling from Great Dunmow to Hull and back in just 30 hours,” said Bruce. “We’ve just followed that up with our first qualification event by completing a 130-mile route across the Wessex Downs on January 19 in just 12 hours.”

The fundraising campaign is also well underway and to date more than £1,000 has been raised. To donate, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PBPTeamTreatt.

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