Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Dad bids to set cycling record on Chopper

A SOLICITOR from Henley is about to set a world record for cycling the furthest distance in an hour on a vintage children?s bike.

A SOLICITOR from Henley is about to set a world record for cycling the furthest distance in an hour on a vintage children?s bike.

Matt Richardson aims to pedal as many laps as possible of the Palmer Park stadium in Reading between 2pm and 3pm on Saturday.

The 48-year-old will be riding an unmodified Mark I Raleigh Chopper, the first model of its kind to be sold in Britain in 1969.

Mr Richardson, of Deanfield Avenue, says he is guaranteed to set a first as nobody has attempted the feat before.

He will be raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research as his father David died of cancer in 1999. The father-of-two, who founded the GS Henley cycling club in 2010, bought his bike for £500 on eBay last year when a friend dared him to tackle the Tour de France?s hardest climb on it.

He successfully conquered Mont Ventoux in France, overtaking more than 40 cyclists on expensive carbon bikes and raising £4,000 for cancer charity Leuka.

He was inspired to undertake his second challenge in September when German professional cyclist Jens Voight set a new world record for cycling 51.1km in an hour.

He said: ?At first I thought it was a one-off but in the months that followed loads of people were asking me what I?d be doing next.

?I thought I could tackle another mountain but that might be a bit dull. When Jens set his record I thought I could try it on a MkI Chopper.

?I fielded the idea and everyone thought it was a good one. They found it funny and you?ve got to have a bit of novelty to get people?s interest.

?I?m not going to break any professional records but it will be a first nonetheless.?

Mr Richardson, who works for an IT and finance firm in Bracknell, has set up a Facebook page to promote his efforts and has more than 250 followers. He has already raised about £600.

His supporters include Olympic gold medal rowers James Cracknell and Sir Matthew Pinsent, whom he raced against at the 2002 Henley Royal Regatta in an Upper Thames Rowing Club pair.

He hopes to complete one lap of the stadium, each measuring 459m, per minute. This means he would cycle 27.5km, or 17.1 miles.

?If I can manage that on a Chopper it will be quite a feat,? he said. ?I will be thrilled if I can pull it off, although I?m not 100 per cent confident.?

?The main aim is to make people laugh and donate money to charity but if anyone else is ridiculous enough to have a go at beating my record that would be fantastic.

?I?d certainly come back and try it again, although I might change my mind after I?ve done it!?

To support Mr Richardson, visit www.facebook.com/raleighchoppervsthehour

* Earlier this month, British cyclist Alex Dowsett set a new hour record after cycling 52.937km in 60 minutes. This was 446m further than the previous record.

Sir Bradley Wiggins will attempt to beat the record on June 7 and says he is confident of cycling 55km.

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