A Senior Lecturer at the University of Chester’s Warrington campus will undertake the bike ride of a lifetime this summer to raise money for two good causes.
Wayne O’Brien, a Senior Lecturer in Television Production, is hard at work training for a mammoth solo fund-raiser that will see him ride 7,000 miles across America, Europe and Great Britain.
Wayne’s epic adventure will begin in June, when the 2,500-mile trans-American leg of his trip will take him from Fort Mason, the former military barracks in San Francisco on the west coast, to New York in the east. From the Big Apple, he will immediately fly to Gibraltar, where the second leg of his epic ride will begin.
Cycling through Spain and France before arriving back in the UK, Wayne expects to complete his ride 12 weeks after it began when he returns to Warrington for a special home-coming celebration at Peninsula Barracks.
The 51-year-old will be raising money for two causes that are close to his heart: Help for Heroes, the national charity supporting the rehabilitation of British soldiers injured in active service, and the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace, a Warrington charity supporting the victims of conflict.
Wayne said: “Both charities are very worthwhile causes. My son has served in Iraq and is due to go to Afghanistan later this year, so I know all about the work of Help for Heroes, while the Foundation for Peace obviously holds a strong connection for Warrington people.”
Wayne is currently cycling about 50 miles a day as he prepares for his epic challenge. His brother, Kevin, is a keen charity cyclist, and Wayne joined him last year to ride the Trans Pennine Trail from the west to the east coast of England, but this latest adventure is completely uncharted territory.
Wayne explained: “To be honest, I just fancied doing something a bit outrageous. I’m 51 now and wanted to do something before I was too old! I’m nervous about it and at times I do wonder what I’m doing, but it will be great. People say I’m daft, but there are a lot of individuals involved in much more dangerous and extreme environments than this.
“I’m riding every day now but, having spoken to people that have done this sort of thing before, I know it’s important that you don’t over-train. I have never done anything like this before so I’m not entirely sure how things will work out, but I know that it is going to be hard in a number of ways.”
Wayne is taking his laptop, camcorder and satellite phone on the trip, and will be providing regular updates about his progress on the website www.thecharityride.com. A couple of spoof YouTube videos have already been recorded to publicise the adventure, and can be viewed by visiting the site.
Wayne’s supporters include Dawes Cycles, who have kindly supplied him with a 27-gear top-of-the-range bicycle, and the Bike Factory in Chester, who have provided a range of other essential equipment. Wayne is also keen for other suppliers to come forward if they would like to assist him in completing his journey.
All proceeds raised by the ride will go directly to the two charities. To make a donation, visit www.thecharityride.com