100 Swansea riders sought for charity bike ride from Paris to Barcelona in aid of Maggie's
CYCLISTS with thighs of steel and hearts of gold are being sought for a charity pedal across some of Europe's most glorious countryside.
Organisers in Swansea hope 100 riders will sign up for the 650-mile jaunt from Paris to Barcelona.
Money raised will go to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre, based at Singleton Hospital.
The July 27 to August 4 event has been organised by Swansea cycle store Action Bikes and is being backed by the South Wales Evening Post and radio station, The Wave.
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The ride follows last summer's epic from Paris to Swansea, in which 70 cyclists raised in excess of £75,000 for Maggie's.
Action Bikes owner Richard Smith emphasised people did not have to be a Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish or Laura Trott to take part.
"Anybody and everybody is capable of doing it," said Mr Smith, of Swansea Marina.
"We need as many people as we can. There will be loads of encouragement along the route, plus support vehicles, a catering team and a back-up team of mechanics."
The week-long trek will see riders burn some 5,000 calories per day, make firm friends and, of course, raise money for a great cause.
Mr Smith has been organising charity rides for around 15 years, and hoped this year's would be bigger than ever.
The 47-year-old has ridden from Paris to Barcelona before and said the route would not go over the daunting Pyrenees.
But participants would need to put in the hours, training-wise, and raise as much sponsorship as possible.
"Everything about it is a challenge," said Mr Smith, whose business is based in St David's Shopping Centre.
The Wave presenter Andy Miles, aka Badger, took part in the Paris to Swansea ride last August and has signed on the dotted line this time round.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Mr Miles, of Mumbles.
"Some of the route is part of the Tour de France and La Vuelta (the Spanish road race)."
The 44-year-old, who is a Mumbles lifeboat crew member, said last year's ride was "not too bad", although the section from Portsmouth to Bristol was marred by horrendous rain.
He added that his legs felt every mile of the ride but only the day after the triumphant last stretch along Fabian Way.
"The day after (the finish) you need to do a 20-mile ride," he said.
Among the 70 riders last year was Sam Richards, whose sister Jen, 23, died in November 2011 after succumbing to small cell cancer — a rare and aggressive form of the disease.
Swansea's £3 million Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre was unveiled in December 2011. Staff there provide information, psychological and emotional support and benefits advice to people from across South West Wales and Mid Wales.
Another of last year's Paris to Swansea riders was Ian Fearn, who said at the end: "I saw 70 strangers on Wednesday, and 70 good friends on Sunday."
To find out more, phone Richard Smith at Action Bikes on 01792 464640 or 07824 325186.