Richard Ayre, Land and Planning Director at south west housebuilder Baker Estates, has completed the gruelling 1,000-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats raising thousands of pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association charity.
Richard, who describes himself as an occasional cyclist, joined a group of friends who all live in and around Bovey Tracey and took 14 days to complete the epic journey which spans the length of the United Kingdom.
The ambitious venture saw Richard and his friends pedal their way through diverse terrains, battling harsh weather conditions, undulating landscapes, and pushing through the fatigue, all in the name of raising funds for the less fortunate. His relentless efforts during this awe-inspiring journey have not only captured the attention of admirers but have also helped generate much-needed donations for charity.
Between them, the group have raised over £6,000 for Motor Neurone Disease Association, The Samaritans, Cardiac Risk in the Young and Cancer Charity Force.
After two weeks in the saddle, the group arrived at their destination at 6am after, and had the obligatory John o’Groats signpost photos taken. They then travelled by bus and train all the way back to Devon which took over 16 hours.
Commenting on the demanding experience, Richard said: “Undertaking the Land’s End to John o' Groats charity bike ride has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding journey. It was as hard as I thought it might be, but every pedal stroke was with the knowledge that our collective efforts are making a tangible difference in the lives of others. The support and encouragement I received from friends, family, and well-wishers along the way were truly motivating and heartwarming."
Baker Estates donated £500 to Richard’s fundraising efforts. Ian Baker, Managing Director at Baker Estates said: “Richard’s incredible feat serves as an inspiration to others, urging people to embark on their own charitable pursuits. Everyone at Baker Estates were behind him the whole way and delighted he completed it.”
Richard picked his 50th birthday milestone for the challenge and was inspired to fundraise for the MND Association after seeing two rugby players – Doddie Wier and Rob Burrow - suffering from the incurable disease.
Richard added: “I wanted a challenge to mark my 50th birthday. I was moved seeing the bravery of the two rugby players who have been on the news talking about their struggle with MND which is a terrible disease and needs an urgent cure. It gave me all the motivation I needed to complete the trip.
“It was a very tough challenge, and we rode through all sorts of weathers. One weekend it rained for two days solid which didn’t help the mood! My favourite part of the trip was passing over a ski resort in Scotland – it was spectacular. I didn’t get off my bike once which was my mission and I managed to ride the whole way – all 1000 miles – even the 20% gradient hills which were lung busting!”
“A big thanks to everyone who sponsored me and there’s still time for those that didn’t think I would do it and might want to do it retrospectively. It would be great to get that final total up higher for the good cause that it is.”