Sponsored ride to Welsh coast set to raise £5,000 for charities

Six of the cyclists celebrate after reaching the top of Dinas Mawddwy Pass.

A group of cyclists completed a 110 sponsored ride from Stourbridge in the Midlands to Talybont on the Cambrian Coast in 13 hours on Friday after a two hour delay for torrential rain en route.


The cyclists set off from the All Electric Garages and AEG Motorhomes, Stourbridge just after 6am and arrived at Islawrffordd Caravan Park in Talybont, near Barmouth soon after 7pm. They hope to have raised more than £5,000 which will be shared by the West Midlands Air Ambulance and Macmillan Cancer Support.


The ride was organised by Martin Whelan from Stourbridge to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the loss of his mum, Maureen, who died from cancer. Martin and his family have enjoyed holidays in Barmouth for many years and his mum’s favourite place was Islawrffordd Caravan Park, where the family had a caravan holiday home.


Since childhood, he had wanted to cycle from Stourbridge to Islawrfford. To celebrate his 40th birthday and as a tribute to his mum, he decided to do it this year and was joined by friends and acquaintances, including Jane Evans, wife Islawrffordd Caravan Park director Dylan Evans.


Seven cyclists – Paul Hupperdine from Talybont, Chris Mcleod from Stoke on Trent, Barry Fisher, Tony Walters and Graham Varney from the Midlands – set off from Stourbridge and they were joined at Dinas Mawddwy by Paula Tunnadine, a Barmouth fitness instructor. Jane’s sister, Rachael Garner from Stoke on Trent, helped Steve Jones in a support vehicle.


One of their stop offs was at caravan and motorhome dealership Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury, who sponsored the ride.


“When we got to Foel, the heavens opened and we all had to get into the back of the support vehicle because the road was flooded,” said Jane. “We all stuck together on the ride and having the support vehicle at the back made us feel safe. People are still bringing in sponsorship money but we think we have raised over £5,000.


“I really enjoyed it and was chuffed to have completed the ride because up until the start of the year the furthest I had cycled was about 15 miles.”


Martin, who laid a wreath on the beach in tribute to his mum at Islawrffordd, said the ride had been a challenging and emotional experience, particularly climbing the hill from Dinas Mawddwy.


“We had a great welcome when we arrived at Islawrffordd, which made it all worthwhile,” he said. “There is no way that I would have completed the ride without training and fair play to Jane for doing it on her mountain bike, which one of the riders said was the equivalent of 150 miles.


“I would like to say a big thank you to the rest of the team and sponsors for their support. It meant a hell of a lot to me.”


The cyclists’ next challenge is to ride from Stourbridge to Land’s End next year to raise money for the West Midlands and Wales Air Ambulances. “It’s a very deserving charity and saves lives every single day,” he said


Anyone still wishing to sponsor the riders can donate online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=thebarmyridetobarmouth