A DEDICATED son is set to take on a mammoth 200-mile bike ride to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
Hartlepool man Gary McBean will tackle the Mallorca 312 – a 195-mile (312km) cycle race around the coast of the Spanish island that must be completed in 14 hours.
The 50-year-old dad-of-two is riding in aid of Parkinson’s UK.
Gary’s father, Brian McBean, 73, from the Hart Lane area, was diagnosed with the neurological disease, which affects 127,000 people in the UK, four years ago.
Gary wanted to sign up for the ride to give something back to the charity.
As well as facing scorching temperatures, he will also be riding at climbs of up to 14,000ft.
Gary, who rides for a local club called Adept Precision Racing, run by a local engineering firm, has been cycling for 16 years.
The Seaton Carew resident, who works as an engine technician for GlaxoSmithKline, said the longest distance he has ever cycled in one session is 144 miles.
Gary, who is dad to Andrew, 26, and Jonathan, 23, and grandfather to Logan, said: “My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about four years ago and myself and other friends and family have seen the consequences of living with the condition on both my dad and his partner/carer and the deterioration in their quality of life.
“The research that is currently taking place will probably not benefit my dad but there are people with Parkinson’s as young as 18.
“Many people know very little about the condition and tend to think of it as an old person’s affliction.
“My dad goes to Parkinson’s awareness meetings and it helps him come to terms with what he has got.”
Mr McBean senior, a father-of-four, grandfather-of-seven and great-grandfather-of-one said: “Parkinson’s affects a lot of things, like swallowing, speaking and writing.
“I get a lot of help with it from my partner, Margaret Mansfield.”
The retired engineering manager at the former GEC plant added: “Parkinson’s is one of the lesser known illnesses and Gary is doing a great job to raise awareness.”
Gary, who is married to Karen, a 52-year-old personal assistant for a consultant at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, was in Mallorca last week training for the event.
He said: “It was okay.
“I learned a lot from it and it made me feel quite confident that I can do it on the day.”
The event will take place on April 28.
Last year 70 riders completed the 195-mile circuit, with the fastest rider recording a time of 10 hours 16 minutes.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Gary can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/gary-mcbean
Alternatively, to text your donation, send GARY61 (followed by the amount in pounds) to 70070.