John Taylor will be riding the Trans Pennine Trail, from Southport on the west coast of the UK to Hornsea on the east coast, from 12 to 14 April to raise funds for Qhubeka. The trail covers 333km, which John plans to cover in three days on his MTB, averaging about 70miles a day on disused canal and railway routes.
27-year old John was born and raised in Yorkshire, England, and has always enjoyed health, fitness and outdoor sports. He also relishes a challenge and in recent years has completed a half marathon and finished the Yorkshire 3 Peaks (walking 25miles in 8 hours). This year he plans to compete in a triathlon too.
John has previously raised funds for local charities through his sporting activities, but was drawn to Qhubeka this time through hearing about the MTN-Qhubeka Pro Continental Cycle Team and its recent successes in the Tour de Langkawi and Milan-Sanremo.
“This time I thought I would try something different,” he explains. “I really wanted to give to a cycling related charity, seeing as I will be riding my bike to raise the money, and I can’t think of a charity better than Qhubeka.
“I am an avid professional cycling fan and follow the exploits of all the big teams on TV and online, including Team MTN-Qhubeka, of course. It was on Twitter where I first became aware of the team and the charity and from there I did a bit of research online about the work Qhubeka are doing in South Africa. Seeing the photos and stories from the bike drops made it hit home how tough it is for some people to make what we would call simple journeys, to school, to medical centres and so on, and so it was an easy decision to try to raise money to give bikes to the kids.”
John has ridden sections of the route in the past, but has never attempted the entire trail before. He will be carrying all his tools, spare clothes and food with him, and staying in B&Bs and hostels along the route. Joining him are four friends, James, Dan, Rich and Dave, and John notes that some of his companions haven’t ridden their bikes for a long time.
“We are a close knit group and will help each other out throughout the challenge, and I am sure we will all be there at the finish to celebrate what we have achieved,” he says. “Originally we didn’t start out with a fundraising goal as such, we just wanted to raise as much as we could for Qhubeka. After creating a fund raising page and sending it to our friends, family and work colleagues it became apparent that we may be able to raise a bigger amount than we first thought, and so now we would like to try to get to over £500, the cost of four complete Buffalo bikes.”
John extends his thanks to those who have already sponsored him in his efforts. “It means a lot to us to get people’s support,” he says. “I keep thinking about the time I got my first Raleigh bike when I was younger, and if the kids receiving a bike from Qhubeka feel anything like I did at that time then I know they will have a big smile on their faces.”