A team of four Ruthin cyclists will join around 700 other riders in a triumphant charity challenge ride through Paris the day before the Tour de France ends on the Champs-Élysées.
Two members of the team, Clifford Jones Timber Vice-chairman Richard Jones, the son of Chairman Alan Jones and grandson of the founder, and company managing director, Keith Corbett, have tackled Action Medical Research’s London to Paris ride before.
But this year they’re being joined by two colleagues from the company, the UK’s largest producer of fence posts with an annual throughput of over 100,000 tons of timber.
Keith has managed to persuade company Sales Director Nigel Bacon and Accounts co-ordinator Joshua, Richard’s son, into getting on their bikes for the gruelling trip.
Keith, 64, from Hawarden, only took up cycling six years ago after a replacement hip operation left him unable to continue playing five-a-side football.
And now, as he trains for the London to Paris event, which takes place between July 22 and July 26, he’s regularly clocking-up rides of more than 50 miles.
Richard, who cycled it in 2011, said: “You have to put the training miles in as it’s a very tough challenge. It’s more than 300 miles spread over four days and the toughest part is probably the first stage which is 92 miles across the South Downs. It really is an up and down road and takes it out of you.
“The first stage starts at 7am in London and you have to be at the ferry for 5pm or you’ve really have missed the boat. Then it’s across the Channel and a three day ride into Paris.
“There are three routes you can take, the Cool, Classic or Champion. We are doing the Classic which goes along quiet French country lanes and includes several war cemeteries.
“Then all three routes converge in Paris and you have 700 riders going under the Eiffel Tower. It’s amazing and there are crowds of people clapping and cheering.”
Keith added: “We arrive in Paris the day before the Tour de France ends. The last time I did the ride, in 2012, I watched Sir Bradley Wiggins win. It’s a great way to raise funds for a good cause and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Keith says Action Medical Research is a wonderful charity which does amazing work in the UK.
He said: “Medical research into childhood illnesses and diseases is really badly funded in the UK so the charity is helping to fund research to find new cures and treatments to help protect children.
“Action Medical Research has been funding medical breakthroughs since the charity began in 1952 and was responsible for the first polio vaccines, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine. Those three things alone have helped save thousands of young lives.”
He added: “I’ll do anything everything I can to raise funds for Action Medical Research. My personal aim is to raise £2,000 through sponsorship for the London to Paris ride.
“But it’s all about training and putting the miles in. I’m a bit like a bionic man now as my hip’s got a plastic cup, a titanium rod and a ceramic ball joint. But it doesn’t stop me putting in about 100 miles a week in training.
“I built my own bike for the last Action Medical Research event and sold it for £600 after the event with that money going to the charity too. I’m hoping to boost my fundraising before and after the event by organising a couple of functions.
“I did an auction of promises at Hawarden Golf Club and raised £330 which I was pleased about. My wife Pam will be waiting for me under the Eiffel Tower when I finish, she loves the whole spectacle of the event.”
It’s a real company effort with the other members of Team Clifford Jones Timber and Alan Jones, the chairman, said: “They’ll get plenty of support from the rest of the staff here.
“It’s a fantastic effort by Keith and the others and I’m sure they’ll really enjoy it as well as raising a lot of money for a very good cause.”
To find out more about Action Medical Research visit www.action.org.uk