Frome marathon man Nigel completes latest challenge . . . 120 miles in 29 hours
FROME man Nigel Arbury has completed his latest challenge for charity and walked 120 miles in 29 hours from the Houses of Parliament in London to Bath.
Mr Arbury set off from London to the Royal United Hospital in Bath along the River Thames to Reading and then along the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Departing simultaneously were Tom Barnard from Chippenham and Stuart Mardon from Bath. Their challenge was to cycle a total of 250 miles, firstly, along the Thames Valley Cycle route to Oxford and on to the source of the River Thames at Lechlade, then doubling back to Reading to join the Kennet and Avon canal and proceed to the RUH in Bath. To give Mr Arbury a chance in the race, the cyclists were handicapped on fixed gear bikes and could only travel between the hours of 7am and 7pm.
The competitors received a send off in Westminster by David Heath MP and John Carter, chairman of the Bath Cancer Support Group. All the money raised by the challenge will support the group's fundraising appeal to purchase a positron scanner for the RUH. This will help transform cancer treatment in the area. Money raised so far is over £3,000.
Day one was a frustrating one for the cyclists as Mr Barnard had a succession of punctures.Meanwhile Mr Arbury's day went smoothly comfortably covering the first 50 miles of the trip.
As a contrast, day two started exceptionally well for the cyclist with photographer and support vehicles unable to keep up with them as they sped between Cotswold villages. They finally reached the canal at Theale when the British weather took control.
Mr Barnard said: "I can quite honestly say that I have never ridden in rain like it. It made conditions unrideable on our skinny tyres. I took a fall in the first 300 yards after we joined the canal."
This coincided with Mr Arbury reaching his 90-mile marker and the only word for the conditions was horrendous. The torrential rain made the towpath waterlogged and extremely dangerous.
Because of the weather conditions the decision was taken to cut the hours of Mr Arbury's challenge from 48 to 36 hours and the distance travelled to 120 miles. With the canal path like a quagmire the cyclists took the decision to ride from Devizes to Bath.
The final result was that the cyclists travelled 233.4 miles in a riding time of 16 hours and 9 minutes with an overall time of 19 hours 51 minutes and well within their target of 23 hours and Mr Arbury completed 120 miles in 29 hours.
The fundraisers were greeted to a large welcoming party led by the patron of the appeal, The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Malcolm Lees.
Chairman of the BCSG, Mr Carter, who was among the welcoming party said: "On behalf of the trustees of this charity I extend the warmest thanks to the team for having undertaken and completed this remarkable challenge in order to raise funds for the Positron Scanner Appeal.
"It never ceases to amaze me what individuals will do to support their families, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens. The Westminster to Bath Challenge is a wonderful example of what it means to go the extra mile to help one's neighbours. The Positron Scanner Appeal will provide those people who live within the catchment area of the Royal United Hospital with a unique opportunity to influence the way in which local services for those suffering from cancer are developed."
Martin Bax, head of the support group added: "I am so proud of the challengers' achievements particularly given the arduous conditions."