Featured Features

Claire’s Challenge

Claire Lomas charity bike ride - claireschallengeIf you’re looking for inspiration in 2013 Cyclo suggests you look no further than Claire Lomas. An accomplished equestrian, a freak riding accident in 2007 left her with fractures to her neck, back and ribs; she suffered a punctured lung and pneumonia, had to have a tracheotomy to help her breathe and was in intensive care for 10 days. The damage to her spinal cord resulted in paralysis with no sensation from her chest down, but determined to raise both funds and awareness of spinal injuries she tackled the 2012 London Marathon using a ReWalk robot suit – the extraordinary effort took her 17 days… For 2013 Lomas has another challenge in mind; Cyclo talked to her about the year ahead and her planned incredible charity cycle ride.


Cyclo: How soon after the London Marathon challenge did you know that you wanted to do something further to raise both funds and awareness?


Claire Lomas: Only a few days later. The support I got was unreal and it has made me want to do more to raise vital funds for research, but also to inspire others to get cycling or to keep fighting when faced with difficult times.


Cyclo: Was your first thought to tackle cycling as the next challenge?


Claire Lomas: Yes, I thought it would be very different to the Marathon, which, although it was demanding physically, was more so mentally. But with the cycling I will need to be physically fitter.


Cyclo: The initial idea was to cycle to/through France but the plan ran into logistical problems…


Claire Lomas: Yes, fundraising over there was going to be difficult…


Cyclo: So How did the new UK route come about?


Claire Lomas: We wanted to cover 400-500miles – it varies from day to day, but approximately 20 miles a day – we planned a route visiting many towns and cities in England. It was quite hard to plan as there were so many places I would have liked to visit; but being fairly central makes it easier for people to join us including celebrities!


(Details of the route will be on the website as soon as they are finalised)


Cyclo: You’re planning on giving a number of talks and presentations along the way – what’s the schedule like for that?


Claire Lomas: I am going to do approximately two talks a day, which will be as challenging and tiring as the cycling, in fact sometimes I may feel the bike is a rest! I’m calling at schools for children with disabilities, primary schools, secondary schools, injured servicemen recovery centres…


Cyclo: You’re planning on using a combination of handcycle and FES (Functional Electric Stimulation) bike?


Claire Lomas: Actually I’m now using handcycle 100%. I’m in the process of sorting the bike at the moment. I plan to do a separate challenge using the FES later in the year.


Cyclo: What’s your training regime like?


Claire Lomas: I train five times a week and I’m increasing my miles at the moment and have made it as far as15miles. The hills are tough and my training is generally hilly! What will be hard with the challenge itself is that it is every day for three weeks, plus lots of presentations!


Cyclo: Diet will be important too, any special changes to that for the challenge?


Claire Lomas: I will have to make sure I eat the right things to keep my energy levels up of course, I don’t want to fade – especially when I am suppose to be doing talks to inspire people!


Cyclo: Will you have a support team with you along the way?


Claire Lomas: Yes I will have a team with me. I hope to have my physio with me some of the time, and family and friends when they can.


Cyclo: Can you tell us about Spinal Research and Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, the two charities you are raising funds for this year…


Claire Lomas: They are both working towards a cure for paralysis and making great advancements. A spinal injury can happen to anyone at anytime, often young people. It changes your life in a split second. I feel lucky to have use of my arms; a lot of people are paralysed from the neck down. It also effects so much more – circulation, temperature regulation, blood pressure, sensation, movement, digestion… A cure needs to be found.


Cyclo: How can people get involved?


Claire Lomas: As with the Marathon I would love people to come and join in for a day of #clairescycle. We will have great fun and we’re getting a great group of celebs joining in too.


Any donations are appreciated of course and I’m also planning a pre #clairescycle training day at Rutland Water to raise money. It’s 25miles of beautiful cycling, optional fancy dress and entertainment for kids. £5 entry…

Cyclo: Probably too soon to ask, but will this be the end or do you think there will be further charity challenges to tackle. 


Claire Lomas: Oh yes I am sure there will be more to come. I fancy giving Handcycling racing a go too!


Claire’s challenge is scheduled to begin on April 22, full details including the Rutland Water training day, the route as it evolves and, of course, ways to both sponsor and support her can be found at You can follow her on twitter claire80lomas / #clairescycle



Six Kids, 411miles, Three Wheels

Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge Charity Bike RideThis year’s Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge is once again organized by Cyclo’s friends at Across the Divide ( but whilst last year’s incredible three-wheeled effort from Edinburgh to BBC Centre in London was undertaken by One Show presenter Matt Baker, the 2012 adventure has a different flavour…


Starting last Friday (November 9) six youngsters, all of whom have been either supported by or still are supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects, are attempting to peddle their way from Llandudno in Wales to Television Centre, covering a grueling 411 miles in just 8 days in order to arrive for The One Show’s BBC Children in Need special on Friday. As of last night (Monday, November 12) the team had raised £315,452 – you can follow the progress and, we hope, give generously by visiting the special BBC website here.



Where Charity Begins?

If you have ever stopped and wondered how much of a charity ride’s entry fee might actually go to the charity then Trevor Ward’s Guardian bike blog will make for illuminating (possibly depressing) reading. Ward took a closer look at the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, brand new and a companion ride to the Etape Caledonia, which charges an eye-watering £61 entry fee. Like most of us Ward assumed that at least some of that entry fee would go to the Marie Curie charity; it turns out that every penny goes to event organisers IMG, one of the worlds most powerful (and richest) media and sports talent agencies in the world.


So what do Marie Curie get out of it? Once there are only 500 places left the charity is given these slots as complimentary, although with a little digging Ward discovered that ‘complimentary’ still meant £61 (all of it going to IMG) but with those riders committed to raising a minimum of £250 for the charity and thus becoming Daffodil Team members. Inarguably that means a minimum guarantee of £75,000 for an excellent cause, but if just 30% of the entry fee also went to Marie Curie that £75,000 would be almost doubled and the remaining 70% would surely cover all of IMG’s costs for staging the event? Ward’s actual findings when it comes to costs are, if anything, even more disturbing and you can read more at


Details of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, which takes place in County Durham on October 7 can be found at


Featured News

Skelton of the Antarctic

helen skeltonShe’s successful walked the high-wire between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station, paddled the length of the Amazon and completed the Namibia 24hour Ultra-Marathon (one of the toughest footraces in the world) so when Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton announces she’s going to cycle to the South Pole, there’s little reason to doubt her. The epic 500 mile trek across Antarctica, scheduled for January, will see the 28-year-old use a combination of skis, kites and ‘ice bike’ (with specially adapted 8inch-wide tyres) to reach her destination in order to raise money for the Sports Relief charity.


Along the way it is anticipated that she will break the world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow, whilst travelling up to 14 hours a day (pulling an 82kg sledge) and facing temperatures around -50C. Speaking on BBC Breakfast Skelton admitted that the bike was really as-yet untested and when asked how did she know it would work, she replied, “Well we don’t…it might not work, but wouldn’t it be brilliant if it did!”


For more details on the challenge and to sponsor Skelton in her efforts, visit:



In The Footsteps of Baker…

across the divideEver fancied yourself as an early evening chat-show host? No? Well even so there is a chance to ride in the honourable tracks of the One Show’s Matt Baker who recently completed an epic rickshaw challenge, peddling from Scotland, through York and Cambridge before finishing in London, all in aid of the Children in Need charity. Expedition specialists Across the Divide (who organised and oversaw Baker’s original adventure) have put together a near identical route for tackling between July 4 and 8, 2012; the challenge, which totals 474miles, will pass through: “…the rugged fells of Cumbria to one of Britain’s best loved national park, the Yorkshire Dales, and onto the flat land of Lincolnshire and quaint villages of Cambridgeshire. Each day brings new sights and experiences as well as exciting cycling ranging from testing climbs to fast descents.” The finishing point is the London Olympic Stadium – just a couple of weeks before things get underway for the 2012 Games. Important to note that this challenge involves the rather more traditional bike than the rickshaw that Baker used – but it still looks like an incredible challenge to us…



Day 1 – Edinburgh to Carlisle.  92 miles

Day 2 – Carlisle to Harrogate. 111 miles

Day 3 – Harrogate to Lincoln.  103 miles

Day 4 – Lincoln to Cambridge.  106 miles

Day 5 – Cambridge to London.  62 miles


Further details available from:



Rickshaw Roadshow

The One Show’s Matt Baker will be taking to three wheels this year to raise money for the annual Children in Need campaign; attempting to ride a rickshaw from Edinburgh to London over 8 days whilst picking up a series of ‘surprise’ guests along the way. The challenge is being overseen by adventure travel specialists Across the Divide ( whose itinerates include the Euro Cities Cycle and the classic London to Paris.


Baker will embark on his arduous journey on the morning of Friday November 11from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade and will attempt to complete the 484 mile journey to the BBC Centre in London, finishing live on The One Show’s Children in Need special on Friday November 18. His route will comprise: Day 1 Edinburgh to Hawick (53.5miles), Day 2 Hawick to Hexham (59.2miles), Day 3 Hexham to Barnard Castle (49miles), Day 4 Barnard Castle to York (70.6miles), Day 5 York to Lincoln (78miles), Day 6 Lincoln to Peterborough (73.2miles), Day 7 Peterborough to Cambridge (41miles) and Day 8 Cambridge to London (59.3miles). As if all the miles weren’t enough it’s also estimated that he will climb almost the equivalent height of Mount Everest during the ride.


Further details and for ways of donating visit



London-Paris Open for Bookings

ATD London to ParisAcross the Divide have bookings open for this year’s London to Paris charity bike ride (June 1 – 5); an event that sees participants challenge themselves across four days of cycling from London, through rolling Kent countryside and picturesque French villages, to the heart of Paris with an epic Finish beneath the Eiffel Tower.


The challenge, now its third year, covers around 300 miles (mostly on minor roads and lanes) with an itinerary that breaks down as:

Day 1, 100miles – Greenwich, via the London suburbs and southern counties to Dover (with a couple of chewy hills to get you in the mood)
Day 2, 70mies – Calais to the historic town of Arras.
Day 3, 76miles – Arras to Compiegne, the most scenic day of cycling.
Day 4, 63miles – Compiegne to Paris, complete with celebratory meal.
Day 5 – Eurostar to St Pancras (no sweat required…)


In our experience ATD manage to pull of the near impossible balancing act between laid-back, sheer fun and impeccable planning and, with the promise of ATD guides, logistics staff, event doctor, wholesome foods and quality overnight hotels the only thing you have to do is peddle. As the organisers put it: “Although this event will be hard going at times, the rewards will be great.” – This is one charity ride Cyclo really wants to take up this year…


For more information see: