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'Novice' cyclists to ride from Oswaldtwistle to Lourdes
A PAIR of self-confessed ‘novice’ cyclists from Oswaldtwistle are due to set off on an epic bike journey tomorrow.
Eric Parr and Clive Yates will leave home at 9am and expect to arrive at Lourdes, in the French Pyrenees, 10 days later.
The 920-mile journey will be a test for the pair, said university lecturer Eric.
The 56-year-old said: “We’re doing it for ourselves, mainly to prove we are not too old.
“Both of us are novices and have only been doing it a few years.
“We’re also doing it for charity. The money raised will be split 50/50 between the national char-ity for Muscular Dystrophy res-earch, and St Mary’s Church.”
Like the rest of the town, the pair, who are both churchgoers, were moved when 18-year-old muscular dystrophy sufferer Ellena Gilrane passed away in June.
Eric said: “It’s a close-knit community and the church was packed out. We wanted to raise money for the cause.
“We’re going from Oswaldtwistle at 9am, to Portsmouth, into France, and down the west coast to Bordeaux, and then to Lourdes.
“I’ve been quite a few times and it’s like a pilgrimage to be able to cycle there.
“At our age, cycling is a softer impact sport and is easier on our knees, and joints. It’s a personal challenge.”
Eric and Clive rode 62 miles from Manchester to Blackpool, at an average speed of 17mph, and rode coast-to-coast last year, but training for their latest adventure has been sporadic because Clive, who works for BAE, was sent to Australia on a work trip.
Eric added: “Training over the last week has been quite dire, but prior to the last month we have been going out on weekends and during the week as well.”
The pair work together to voluntarily run the parish centre at St Mary’s Church and have raised £650 of their £1,600 target. Donations can be sent online at www.justgiving.com/Tour-De-Lourdes
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