The journey of a lifetime, but not by plane - on two bicycle wheels

Allen Lang-Norris is to cycle 1,400 miles to Rome in aid of REACH EMN-160718-141302001
Allen Lang-Norris is to cycle 1,400 miles to Rome in aid of REACH EMN-160718-141302001
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Two people from the Mercury area are planning globetrotting adventures on two wheels and one is recovering from the trip of a lifetime.

Allen Lang-Norris, 32, from Stamford, is preparing to cycle 1,400 miles in just 10 days for charity.

Sam McGarrick EMN-160715-121359001

Sam McGarrick EMN-160715-121359001

Tomorrow, he will set off from London and head through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, back to France, Switzerland and Italy, finishing in Rome on August 5.

He is taking on the gruelling challenge to raise funds for Reach – the leading children’s charity providing support and information to those affected by upper limb deficiencies.

Allen, a marketing manager at The One Group in Peterborough, has been cycling to work from his home in the centre of Stamford every day for months to help get his stamina up. Since November, he has covered 3,200 miles during training.

Allen said: “A good friend’s nephew is a beneficiary of Reach’s excellent work and I really wanted to raise funds for an amazing charity.

Archie Trower EMN-160721-113832001

Archie Trower EMN-160721-113832001

“Training has been tough. My knees and ankles have been swollen and painful but I am fighting through it.

“I’ve also recently been diagnosed with kidney failure and am waiting to have one taken out, but I’m determined to complete the challenge.”

Allen has previously cycled 1,100 miles between Land’s End to John O’Groats and from London to Paris in 24 hours.

He hopes to raise £10,000 for charity over the next few years by spending his summer holidays carrying out sponsored challenges.

To help Allen with a donation, visit {http:www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keepitdangerous| www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keepitdangerous

Sam McGarrick, 27, from Rutland, set off on a cycle ride from London to Hong Kong, crossing 11 countries, three deserts and picturesque mountain ranges to complete a journey of a lifetime.

Sam is no stranger to physical challenges but the gruelling 10,000 mile journey will be the biggest test of his endurance yet.

Setting off from London, the quality and training manager will travel across Europe to Istanbul, before following the trail through the frontiers of North West China, crossing the country on a tight schedule to reach the finish line on December 1 at The Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong.

Sam’s self-funded challenge will see him travel half way across the world on a budget, camping every night until he reaches south east China.

Friends and family will be able to follow his progress through SecureLocate, a satellite tracking device developed by Restrata, which specialises in security and safety solutions. It allows him to communicate with loved ones and is also fitted with a panic alarm, which is connected to a round-the-clock support team, and if the batteries run low, it can be powered by a solar charger.

“I have always wanted to visit Hong Kong but instead of just jumping on a plane, I thought I’d go one step further and travel on two wheels,” Sam said.

“Some people think I am mad to take on such a gruelling physical challenge over five months when I could get there in a day but that’s what makes it exciting. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’ve cycled from the UK to France before and I think this challenge will be very similar - just a lot longer and much tougher on my body. However, I’m sure I will meet a lot of people on the way who will keep me motivated.”

Setting off alone to travel half way across the world may be a daunting thought for most, but Sam considers that to be part of the thrill.

“When you’re on your own, you discover just how far you can push your limits and exactly what you are capable of. Some days will be harder than others, but I know the sense of achievement I will gain from completing the challenge will keep me pedalling until the finish line.”

Meanwhile, Archie Trower, 20, is putting his feet up at home in Aslackby after cycling back from Moscow.

Archie, who raised funds for Home-Start Lincolnshire, was inspired by his mother, a long-time volunteer for the family support charity.

Archie said: “The work she does really made me want to help similar families and try to make a difference”.

Archie covered 1,976 miles and took just over a month to complete his incredible journey, travelling as many as 123 miles in a day.

Along the way, Archie experienced his share of bike trouble, including a back wheel that broke completely, but managed to get fixed and back on his way every time, often though the kindness of people he met along the way.

“One thing that has really struck me already is how willing people are to go out of their way to help me, from giving me water, to giving me a bed for the night, which then resulted in birthday celebrations for someone in an old soviet factory, great fun.

“Even if people have no real idea what to do I’ve found they still try their utmost to help.”

Archie really enjoyed the experience of travelling through so many different countries, with Germany being a particular highlight: “Leipzig is the most incredible city, without fail everyone I met there was very friendly and helpful and the city itself has so much history and so many beautiful buildings.”

Archie raised £3,200 for Home-Start Lincolnshire, which helps local families with young children who are struggling. They support parents by providing a trained volunteer to offer practical or emotional support.