Saturday 21st July 2018, saw 11 club cyclists, including two 13 year olds, Ben and Lewis , take on the coast to coast challenge, Whitehaven to Sunderland. With support from their back up team Ian Smith, Sandie Wood, Stephen Plumstead, Casey and mascot Ollie the dog, they cycled over 130 Miles in one day.
Splitting into two groups, Jason Grove, Pete Roberts, Mark Holden, Tom Penty, Jason Atardo along with teenagers Ben and Lewis came in under 9 hours. Fran Smith, Clare Plumstead, Ian Hoyle and Lorien James completed the challenge in 12 hours.
The challenge was the idea of Ian Smith. As club mechanic, Ian is used to adjusting bikes for club members. Approached earlier in the year by Claire, mum to 11 year old Eleanor, Ian was asked if a standard road bike could be adapted to a flat bar with a simple gear set up. What made this tricky is Eleanor has disabilities that affect her right hand side, making gear changes difficult. Hoods and drop bars were out of the question, so the best plan was to have a flat bar set up.
Eleanor’s disabilities include epilepsy and cerebral palsy, she struggles with mobility, requiring a wheelchair for any long distances of walking, along with the issue of seizures brought on by over-exhertion. She has had a dislocated knee for over 4 years requiring operations. After learning to ride through specialist physiotherapist lessons, cycling has become a passion for Eleanor, giving her a sense of speed and freedom. It has been a huge challenge for her to learn to ride a standard bike and joining Calder Clarion go-ride with use of an enclosed track has given her somewhere she can fit in and ride with like minded people.
Understanding Eleanor’s needs, Ian along with Dan Haigh, owner of a local bike shop Cycle Technology, set about adapting the bike (a Specialized Dolce). They wanted to make the bike something Eleanor would want and be able to comfortably ride, it was agreed the best option would be for the bike to be fitted with electronic shifting. Hence, the coast to coast. Ian secretly organised a team within the club, together they set about raising sponsorship for what would become ‘Eleanor’s Ride’.
It was a real club effort, from organising vans for support teams, (kindly donated by Euramax Solutions and Arrow Self Drive), to taking on the ride, organising sponsorship, and rebuilding the bike to a high specification including respray, design and print of the decal, the refit of the components which includes internally routed Shimano Diore XT Di2 groupset, a 11/46 cassette, Ritchie headset and colour changing pedals, and it even has Calder Clarion club logos on – the bike is truly unique to Eleanor.
They raised in excess of £1800 towards the bike fund. Using money left over, they donated to Wakefield Hospice, a local Hospice dear to many members, and also St Leonard’s Hospice, a charity Clare Plumstead was also riding for in memory of her friend and work colleague.
Eleanor’s was presented with her new bike on Sunday 14 October, she is extremely happy and took for a test ride straight away. Eleanor’s parents say “For the club to undertake this huge cycling challenge, and creating this special bike by truly understanding Eleanor and her passion for cycling whilst facing her own daily challenges is amazing and inspiring. It will make such a difference to Eleanor’s riding, enabling her to take her cycling to the next level. Our club is much more than riding a bike, it’s about being there and looking out for each other, we’re so proud to know these wonderful people, we will be forever grateful for their generosity”.