A COUPLE cycled from London to Brighton on a tandem for charity.
Phil and Louisa Mead- Stubbington, of Adwell Square, Henley, raised £300 for the British Heart Foundation after completing the 54-mile ride.
The pair bought their second-hand bike for £140 and Mr Mead-Stubbington taught his wife to ride as she had never cycled before.
To begin with, they would ride short distances around Henley but as Mrs Mead-Stubbington got to grips with it they regularly rode up to 100 miles.
The pair were among 30,000 cyclists who took part in the London to Brighton race, organised by the BHF.
They completed it within six hours and were greeted at the finish by Mr Mead-Stubbingtons sister Kathryn and son Eddie, 15, and brother-in-law Alan, who drove them home.
Mr Mead-Stubbington, 48, said: “If anything, I think we were probably over-prepared. When you’re cycling around Henley, you can’t do anything but meet hills whichever direction you go.
“The London to Brighton ride was almost flat and it was a lot shorter than some of the rides we’ve done in the past.
“There’s a hill outside Brighton called Ditchling Beacon which was hard work but pretty easy compared with the hills in this area.
“That was the best bit because it was about six miles from the finish and we could see the sea, so it motivated us to keep going.
“It took us longer than we expected because of the sheer volume of people taking part. It also took ages to get out of London.”
The couple hope to take part in the BHF’s London to Reading ride next year and Mrs Mead-Stubbington, 42, feels confident enough to try riding up front.
Her husband said: “A tandem takes some getting used to. There’s a much wider turning circle and you have to change gears much more quickly when you’re going uphill because of the extra inertia.
“However, you can also pick up speed far more quickly going downhill due to the momentum. You can get much faster speeds when there are two of you. We’ve done well over 30mph on a flat piece of road without too much effort. It’s much more sociable as well — you can talk to each other more easily than if you were on separate bikes.”
Mrs Mead-Stubbington said: “I had no idea before I cycled quite how liberating and fun it would be.
“I had all sorts of worries about balance, travelling at speed and so on but it has been fantastic to see so much of the area through cycling and have someone to talk to at the same time.
“The next step is me cycling on my own rather than being the ‘stoker’ at the back of the tandem. That would at least stop the ‘she isn’t pedalling’ comments we get!”
To sponsor the couple, visit www.justgiving.com/ philandloumeadstubbington