St Albans cyclists preparing for Route 66 charity ride

TEN lycra-clad lads launched their charity fundraising campaign with a bus journey round London on Sunday.

Ross Osbourne, Kevin Lynch, Casey Lynch and Gerald Stanley, all from St Albans, cycled the streets of the capital to raise awareness ahead of their challenge to cycle Route 66.

The four men are part of a ten-strong team who next year will fly to America and cycle the famous road in just seven days.

The challenge was dreamt up by Ross whilst he was stuck in traffic: “I was sitting in my car on the M25, when the idea just sort of came to me. I met the others in 2011 doing the London 2 Paris bike ride.

“We had talked about doing something to celebrate one of us turning 50.

“Mick Jones reaches the milestone next year and had said he wanted to travel across the USA in a Winnebago, I just adapted that slightly really.”

The 10 guys, who range from 22 to 52, are also attempting to break the world record and complete the distance in just seven days.

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With the road totalling 2,448 miles it means the team will have to cycle around 350 miles a day to achieve their target.

Mick said: “It will certainly be a challenge but we are all up for it and training has already started. It helps that we are fundraising for such great causes.”

The group have chosen Help for Heroes and The Willow Foundation. Mick said it was an easy decision: “We have friends who have connections with the forces and we all greatly admire the work our boys and girls do for us,

“We all feel very strongly that when they come home in whatever physical or mental condition we should be doing whatever we can to help them, H4H gives us the platform to provide financial support through fundraising to do that.

“The Willow Foundation blew us away when we went to see them and learnt about the work they do with 16-40 year olds who are seriously ill.”

He added: “The value they both add to the lives of those they support cannot be measured in pounds shillings and pence but by raising funds we can help the work to continue.”

A London bus with Help for Heroes and Willow Foundation banners on each side drove through the streets of London on Sunday with the 10 cyclists riding behind it.

The weather meant the launch had to be slightly changed, and rain meant the original plan to cycle all day was reduced to just one hour riding around Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

Mick added: “We managed to distribute around 5,000 leaflets, which was excellent. The hour cycling round London in the rain was a damp bonding experinec as it was the first time we had all cycled together.”