Search

Friends finish charity moped challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:55 02 August 2010 | UPDATED: 15:04 02 August 2010

Despite a catalogue of breakdowns, some of the country's steepest slopes and increasingly sore backsides, a group of eight friends have succeeded in their wacky mission to drive the length of the UK on their first 50cc mopeds.

Despite a catalogue of breakdowns, some of the country's steepest slopes and increasingly sore backsides, a group of eight friends have succeeded in their wacky mission to drive the length of the UK on their first 50cc mopeds.

Dozens of welcoming banners and smiling faces were on display as the tired gang rode in formation into the car park of The Boars pub, in Spooner Row, near Wymondham, on Friday evening having ridden from John O' Groats in five days.

In a challenge dubbed The Wrong Way Down, the bikers, all in their 40s and 50s, dared themselves to travel the 750 mile journey on the bikes they first rode as teenagers.

Each had to scour through collectors' websites, eBay and even scrapyards to find their beloved wheels - some of which were in a state of disrepair. Most could not reach beyond speeds of 26 mph - a figure cut to single figures as soon as they encounter a hill.

The group's aim was to raise £5,000 for Wymondham-based charity Star Throwers, which helps people affected by cancer through offering them advice on treatments.

James Jones, one of the bikers, said he is confident they will have hit their fundraising target.

He said the adventure had been one of the best experiences of his life.

“Everyone was always excited. It was probably the best thing I have ever done excluding going away with my family. It was such an experience - the camaraderie and the bonding was great,” he said.

“As soon as we set off and you could see these orange jackets in the distance it was so good. People were waving to us as we were going through villages. We were getting so much attention.”

The group had to cope with about five breakdowns a day from puncture repairs to engine rebuilds. They managed to fix their bikes on each occasion, except on the first day when the engine on Mr Jones' 1969 Puch MS50 died just 46 miles into the challenge. Luckily they had brought along a spare bike being carried by a support truck, which also held their clothes and food.

Mr Jones said the generosity of strangers they met on the trip had amazed them.

“Some people said we were mad. Most people had admiration for us and and the charity we were doing it for. People's generosity was amazing. You'd be chatting for about 10 minutes and they'd be putting £5 or £10 notes in your hand,” he said.

The group would particularly like to thank those businesses that gave them help, including ATS Swaffham which provided and replaced a bike tyre for free, Foulger Transport which fueled the support truck for free and Banham Poultry which waivered the cost of an MOT and service on the truck.

Despite travelling through some of the country's most glorious countryside, one of the best moment of the journey was the emotional reunion with families and friends back in Spooner Row.

“It was mindblowing. All the wives had organised banners. It was like someone coming home from Afghanistan. All we had done was ride from John O'Groats. It was very emotional,” said Mr Jones.

All the bikes will now be reconditioned and repainted ready for the group's next challenge in which they hope to conquer the length of Ireland.

Those still wishing to donate can visit www.wrongwaydown.biz

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury