Saddle- sore MP in charity bike-ride

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A SEAT on the back benches of Parliament is being swapped for a seat on a cycle as Hucknall’s MP prepares for a long-distance charity bike-ride.

Conservative Mark Spencer will tackle a coast-to-coast challenge from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.

He and 40 other bikers will aim to complete the 170 miles in three days, starting on Friday July 6.

If each person taking part raises £500, the team will realise a total of £20,000 in aid of the Nottingham Breast Institute at Nottingham City Hospital, and also Breast Cancer Research.

Mr Spencer (42) has been motivated to take on the cycling challenge because a family friend of his died of breast cancer last year.

He said: “It has given me the inspiration to do something positive for an excellent cause.

“Cancer is one of those illnesses that affects anybody and everybody. But if it is caught early enough and treated, lives can be saved.”

“It isn’t the severe disease it was 20 years ago. But survival depends on early diagnosis.”

The ride takes in the Pennines and the Lake District, including some tough hill-climbs.

Mr Spencer has been training for the ride as much as possible.

He has been tackling 30-mile routes at weekends but is concerned that he doesn’t have “enough miles in the legs”.

He said: “I am conscious that I’m not as thin as I could be and a few more miles in the saddle and a few less Parliamentary dinners won’t do me any harm!

“I am training at weekends and I have invested in an exercise bike.

“But while I am in London during the week, it is virtually impossible.

“Despite that, I am looking forward to the ride. I’m a bit daunted by some of the hills we will have to climb but I am going to tackle this head on.”

Anyone who would like to support the initiative can drop cheques (made payable to ‘The Strawberry Ball’) or cash into Mr Spencer’s office at the Under One Roof centre on Vine Terrace, Hucknall.

n OUR PHOTO shows Mr Spencer in training in Hucknall — DISPIC NHUD12-1062-4.