A SUPERFIT cycling fanatic has embarked on a mammoth cross-channel charity bike ride.
Seaton Carew man Gary McBean is one of four men who set off on a 1,000-mile ride yesterday from Newcastle to Nice, in France – a route never tackled before – to raise money for TFM and Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids charity.
Gary, 52, is a member of local cycling club Adept Precision Racing, and he knows the other charity riders, Dom Munnelly, 42-year-old marketing director from Newcastle, Geoff Mount, 48, a children’s services manager from Blaydon and Collin Humphrey, 34, an underwriter from Newcastle, through racing circles and competitions.
The foursome decided they would do something challenging that would make a difference to others less fortunate than themselves.
The group, accompanied in a support vehicle by Gateshead couple Nev Martin and Bev Blakeman, set off from Newcastle yesterday afternoon.
They rode from Newcastle to a ferry, which will take them to Amsterdam, then they will spend the week riding across Holland, into Belgium and then to France.
Gary, who has been cycling competitively since 1998 and is dad to Andrew, 27, and Jonathan, 24, said: “It will get harder as the days go on and as we get further towards Nice, it becomes quite hilly.
“I’m quite looking forward to it, my main concern is the weather.”
The Mail reported last year that Gary, who is an engineer and technician for GlaxoSmithKline and married to Karen, who works at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, took part in the Mallorca 312, a 195-mile race around the coast of the spanish island, in aid of Parkinson’s UK.
He raised £3,000 for the cause.
This time, the team has a £10,000 fundraising target and anyone wanting to support them can do so by visiting www.bikenewcastlenice.co.uk.