St Albans cyclists to ride entire width of England for charity

Left to right: Richard Pile and Alan MacKinnon

Left to right: Richard Pile and Alan MacKinnon - Credit: Archant

Two St Albans cyclists are riding off-road across the entire breadth of England to raise money for charity.

School friends Alan MacKinnon and Richard Pile will be travelling more than 200 miles in just three days, from Whitehaven to Scarborough, to support an epilepsy charity, St Elizabeth’s Centre.

It is a cause close to both their hearts because Richard’s son Luke, who is also Alan’s godson, has complex epilepsy and has lived at the Hertfordshire support centre since 2015.

The route will take the duo from the Irish Sea on the west coast, through the Lake District, Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales, to the North Sea on the east coast.

Alan said: “I can’t wait, it’s going to be a real challenge.” They recently completed a 130-mile training weekend with the organising company, Rat Race. The trip is called The Crossing.

He added: “It was a great training session, it was tough. It’s quite a tough course so there have been early morning bike rides.” To fit his training around work, Alan said he has had to go on rides at 5am - but light heartedly described his most extreme training as his first spin class.

Alan has also ridden at altitude: “You notice the difference, you get breathless much more quickly.”

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The friends are camping at night along the route - which runs from June 2 to June 4.

Luke’s mum, Beccy Pile, said the care St Elizabeth’s provides is “amazing”: “The care Luke receives at St Elizabeth’s has been life changing both for us as a family but more importantly for Luke.

“He has changed so much since he has attended college. He is more confident, independent and has a full and active life.”

She elaborated: “At St Elizabeth’s as well as his college courses, he regularly goes out with his friends, plays football locally, manages his own finances and shopping and lives a life much like that of any other young man his age.”

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