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Easy riders in tandem to raise £1,400 for charity

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

By Richard Bennett

  • Matthew left, Kevin right

  • Kevin back Matthew front

  • Kevin left, Matthew right

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A PAIR of Ashbourne fund-raisers have taken on a 660-mile charity tandem ride, despite only having ridden a two-seater bicycle once before.

Matthew Hackett, 34, a manager at Coates and Partners in St John Street, and Kevin Milward, 34, a self-employed carpenter, cycled from Findern to Land's End before finishing the ride at Plymouth.

The duo raised £1,400, which they will share between Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research and St Luke's Hospice in Plymouth.

Mr Hackett, a former Denstone College pupil, said: "I have no idea what made us think of riding a tandem and we hadn't a clue where to get one from until a colleague, Sarah Lovatt, arranged for us to borrow one through Paul Ray Sports Injury Clinic.

"We decided we would start our training in January doing mountain bike rides but,, in the end ,never did more than 30 miles.

"Then when people started getting on at us about our lack of training, our stubborn, competitive streak from playing football, kicked in and we claimed we'd be fine."

The pair had only once ridden a tandem bike before the challenge for a distance of 70 miles.

Mr Hackett added: "That first day we planned to do 130 miles and, after 110 miles, which took us just across the Welsh border, we felt it had been far easier than we ever imagine – but then the next 20 miles were absolute torture.

"Riding two and a half miles up hill, then two and a half miles down and so on.

"We thought it would never end."

The pair took on the tandem ride in memory of Chris Bolton, the father of Mr Milward's partner, Tilly Bolton.

Mr Bolton, a dedicated guitarist who played in several tribute rock bands, died of cancer a year ago.

The duo set off on Friday, April 11, and the whole challenge took eight days.

The pair said they were amazed by the kindness shown to them by so many people en route.

Mr Hackett said: "We were wearing matching cycle jumpers with our charity legend, so people along the way and driving past could see what we were doing.

"They were amazingly supportive with toots on their horns and donations when we stopped for tea breaks.

"In fact, at Land's End a man stopped his car and came and gave us £10, having lost a family member to leukaemia.

"It was very humbling and inspiring."

The friends say they now have other challenges in mind and are drawing up a list of 40 things to do before they turn 40, including the Three Peaks challenge, coast-to-coast walks, skiing and snow-boarding.

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