Hi, my name is Kevin and I'm far too old to be doing this sort of thing!
On 4th June 2021, I will begin an attempt to cycle solo and unsupported to all 145 whisky distilleries in Scotland, covering over 4,700km and climbing 40,000m in 46 days. That is equivalent to cycling the Hebridean Way 16 times, over 400,000 London buses laid end-to-end, and more than 62.5 million whisky bottles stood queuing in a line! It's almost 4.5 times the height of Everest, over 29 times the height of Scotland’s highest mountain (Ben Nevis), and as tall as 133,333 whisky bottles stood one on top of one another!
I start just outside Glasgow and aim to finish 46 days later in Glasgow. In between, I will be climbing Scotland’s three highest roads and its steepest street as well as crossing every major river. I will cycle the length of Loch Ness and the Great Glen and, for good measure, the North Coast 500, the Kintyre 66, the Hebridean Way, the Speyside Way, and the Snow Roads 90 route. I will also do a large chunk of the South West Coast 300 and the Heart 200 route - in fact, just about every long-distance road route in Scotland will be covered. I will take 18 ferries to nearly every major island (sorry Bute and Shetland), traverse 29 of 32 local authority districts and visit all 7 cities. There will be a lot of mountains, a lot of roads, a lot of water and an awful lot of midges.
What makes this cycling challenge unique is not just its scale and length; in 2017, I was cycling to work when I was hit 4 times by the same car and thrown off my bicycle onto the bonnet of another car. The accident has had a huge impact on my life and left me with three compressed discs in my spine and chronic back pain as well as debilitating adjustment disorder, anxiety, and depression. Just getting outdoors on a bike has become a huge, huge challenge for me now. This challenge will seriously test me to the very limits of my endurance, my fitness and my resolve.
Why have I taken leave of my senses? Well, in late 2020, my wife (Alison) helped set up a charity called Bikes for Schools, which aims to help children in our local community have access to bikes and scooters when they might not otherwise be able to. In just a few months and working with partner schools, Bikes for Schools has acquired over 60 donated bicycles and scooters and begun to loan these out. Bikes for Schools is already receiving enquiries from neighbouring boroughs and schools and believe there is huge potential demand - one estimate is that there are 25 million unused and unloved children's bicycles in the UK. That's a lot of landfill or, worse, a lot of metal to end up in a canal or river and it is such a waste when there are so many children who never have the chance to enjoy the freedom and health benefits which come with cycling.
As well as a bicycle (which is cleaned and repaired if necessary), each child is given a puncture repair kit, lock, hi-viz jacket, helmet and pump, and shown how to repair a puncture. Later this year, the charity intends to start running cycle skills workshops for children and would like to open a community repair shop. Every penny raised from this challenge will be going towards the costs of that.
I am asking you to sponsor me just £0.10 for each distillery I visit, making a total of just £14.50. I'm hoping to raise a total of £2,000 for this challenge, which means I need to find 138 people to sponsor me. Please help me out and then send this page to at least two friends.
If you can give more, I will be deeply, deeply grateful. I have worked my entire career in charities and not-for-profits and I know how much each and every donation means to organisations and, more importantly, the clients, users and beneficiaries
Help me to help Bikes for Schools; because kids fly faster with wheels.
PS: Don't forget to Gift Aid your donation if you can as this increases your donation by 25% at no cost to you, the donor.
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