VIDEO: Charity bikers prepare for challenge ahead

A team of local novice cyclists are shedding their excesses by training to cycle from London to Paris in two days during May in aid of Parkinson’s. The boys have been given a welcome boost over Easter ahead of their challenge, as their fifth blog details…

You know the ride is getting serious when alcohol is being put on the back burner.

Richard Eldridge (Ridge) decreed this week following Easter that the last drop of alcohol has touched his lips until he reaches Paris.

He’s certainly going to enjoy a beer or two when he gets there!

It doesn’t seem likely that the rest of the ‘squad’ are going to follow suit in that regard, but then Ridge’ll be the one laughing last when he’s leaving us behind. He’s already got the ‘hat hair’ to prove he’s in decent shape!

What we are all unified on is the dress code. All five of us are going to be decked out in style for the ride thanks to our spangly new Parkinson’s tops. Blue is certainly the colour as far as we are concerned.

We have the generosity of Richard Candlin’s mother-in-law, Elaine Proffitt, to thank for those. Even if we don’t ride well, we’re certainly going to look the part!

While everyone else was enjoying a chocolate egg or two over Easter, we were delighted with our uniforms instead, giving us an added incentive not to pig out too much - and make it necessary to order a bigger jersey.

As far as training goes, it’s been a good couple of weeks. It seem strange to think now that 20 miles is considered a ‘quick blast’.

But inevitably, as the rides have got longer - there’s been a 68-miler, a 55-miler and plenty of hilly 40-odd milers too - so the new complaints have stirred about the locations of pain.

It’s not simply the lactic acid build-up in the legs now, nor the saddle soreness, but other ailments are taking hold as well.

The back is a common one from folk who aren’t used to riding for hours at a time, and the neck another (after all, you have to keep craning you head to check you’re not going into the gutter!) Even the hands, from constantly being pressed down on the handlebars, are not immune to damage.

One or two of the boys are now starting to get a little fed up with doing the same old routes and putting in the hard yards, but the improvement so far has been immeasurable.

Even so, what is starting to dawn on us novices is just how important a part the weather, and in particular the wind, is going to play on the two days we ‘do it for real’.

It’s easier – or at least it feels that way, to do 40 miles on a calm day than 25 miles in a blustery breeze. Pedalling into a strong headwind can be tougher than climbing some hills.

Another consideration that’s now come to our attention is the stamina aspect of the challenge. It’s a big ask doing 40 miles let alone the 80-odd we need to do on day one in England. Then when our legs are achy and weary (and they will be!) we have to get off the ferry and do it all again in France – only even further.

Still, a few more weeks of graft and, hopefully, we’ll be up to the task. It will all be worth it if we all successfully roll up to the Eiffel Tower, meaning we can collect our Parkinson’s sponsorship money.

For those of us who’ve never been to the French capital before, it promises to be quite a night to remember post-finish.

And for Ridge it promises to be a night where he’ll be drunk very quickly... his month-long beer abstinence should see to that!