Businessman Jason Skinner is delighted to have completed a gruelling 2,000-mile cycle ride from Bourne to southern Spain, raising more than £10,000 for charity in the process.
Jason (40) only took up cycling last year in a bid to get fit, but completed the ride from his Elsea Park home to his parents’ house in Almeria in 15 days – riding in 40 degree heat and climbing up to 2,000m.
He came up with the challenge on a whim, vowing to complete it if he won a competition for a new bike which he’d entered in Active magazine.
He scooped first prize and pledged to complete the ride to commemorate his mother Doreen’s ongoing battle with terminal cancer.
Jason, who runs the Dotty Hen Vintage shop upcycling and selling vintage furniture, was joined by close friend Tim Holland (40), with all money raised going to Cancer Research.
“We got soaked on days and some stages were well over 130 miles, but I didn’t get one puncture!” said Jason, who is married to Sarah and dad to Noah (6).
“My Genesis bike was amazing, not only did it carry me and all my clothes and kit, it tackled fields, mountains and dried-up river beds – it just kept on rolling.
“We had a great send-off in Bourne, while the first few stages to Portsmouth were pretty smooth. Cycling the first few miles in France was when it started to kick in as it soon became clear we were getting a long way from home.”
The pair made their way through France, embracing a diet of cheese and pastry, before swapping views of fields and villages for iconic rivers and larger towns. Next came the mountainous pass into Pamplona, Spain, before the home run.
Jason, a member of Baston Cycling Club, added: “The heat really kicked in once we were into Spain and on the first day we set off at 6am to make headway while it was cooler.
“But we weren’t disappointed with the Spanish coast, especially Calpe – it was stunning. We even managed to ride on some of the old F1 street section and pit lanes in Valencia. Towards the end we had heavy legs and struggled to get any speed or momentum going and the 40 degree heat hit us hard; the last stage ended up taking us almost the longest to complete.”
The pair were met by a welcoming committee and are now considering another challenge – riding the route in reverse.
“It was an amazing ride, we loved every minute of it; we’re amazed at the performance of our bikes and even more surprised by our bodies!” laughed Jason. We’d just like to say huge thank you to everyone who sponsored and supported us.”