Friends cycle from Grantham to Paris for charity

The group stopped at the Guildhall so friends and family could wave them off. From left,  Alex Martin, Martin Halliday, Rhys Mercer and Georgio King.
The group stopped at the Guildhall so friends and family could wave them off. From left, Alex Martin, Martin Halliday, Rhys Mercer and Georgio King.
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Four friends are putting their feet up after cycling from Grantham to Paris last week, in a bid to raise £2,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.

The men, three of them from Grantham, set off from The Priory pub on Dysart Road last Monday, finishing in Paris on Friday after a gruelling 400-mile journey, which saw them battle flat tyres, hunger, late ferries and mental and physical exhaustion.

The group reached Paris on Friday after a gruelling 400-mile journey. From left. Georgio king, Alex Martin, Michael Rawlings, Charlotte Arch, Rhys Mercer and Martin Halliday.

The group reached Paris on Friday after a gruelling 400-mile journey. From left. Georgio king, Alex Martin, Michael Rawlings, Charlotte Arch, Rhys Mercer and Martin Halliday.

After watching a close family member battle with cancer, one of the cyclists, Georgio King, was inspired to do something to help raise awareness.

He started off by taking part in a charity boxing match and a team 500-mile run, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, before coming up with the bike ride idea.

It wasn’t long before he was joined by three friends, Rhys Mercer, Martin halliday and Alex Martin, who joined the group later after hearing about the quest from Rhys’ brother. Despite two of the cyclists not actually owning a bike and all four having not ridden for a few years, they started training.

Georgio said: “We started off with 10- and 20-mile training cycle runs and I finally bought myself a bike three months ago.”

Before setting off last week, they secured sponsorship from Roma Travel on Guildhall Street, The Priory pub on Dysart Road, Clip and Climb in Derby and Tristan Denman Electrical Contractor in Devon.

The group were supported on their journey by friends, Michael Rawlings and Charlotte Arch, who drove their support vehicle with spare equipment and supplies.

Georgio added: “We could not have done it without them. I had four flat tyres in one day and they had all the spare tyres in the car.”

Despite training well, the journey was not without its challenges. “Martin had to get an earlier ferry to us, which ended up being delayed, so our ferry went before his,” said Georgio. “Once he arrived in France, he had to cycle five miles to find us.”

Hunger also became a problem, as they struggled to find anywhere open as they travelled through France.

Georgio added: “We would often have to cycle miles before there was anywhere to stop for something to eat, so sometimes we would eat breakfast and then it would be evening before we could next eat.”

However the camaraderie between the group helped them through and they arrived in Paris on Friday, right on schedule.

After a couple of days sightseeing in the city, they returned to Grantham on Sunday evening.

Georgio added: “The support we have received throughout our training and our journey has been overwhelming. It is something that we will never forget.”

The group has already raised more than £1,800 for Prostate Cancer UK, but there is still time to sponsor them at www.facebook.com/GranthamToParis