Clitheroe couple saddle up for epic 1,700km virtual charity bike ride to France
A fundraising couple are virtually cycling from Clitheroe to Lourdes - without actually leaving the Ribble Valley to raise money and awareness of a worthwhile charity.
Paul and Bernadette Worden "set off" on their 1,700km. trek on February 13th and aim to finish the 51-day epic ride by cycling 20 miles every day across the beautiful villages of the Ribble Valley.
The duo, who are members of Clitheroe Bike Club, are raising money for Mary's Meals - a charity dedicated to providing life-changing meals to some of the world's poorest children.
Speaking of their challenge, Bernadette said: "We are both retired and love cycling. The virtual trip to Lourdes is averaging at 20 miles a day as we want to make the trip last the duration of Lent and we will have to deal with the English weather!"
The pair are no stranger to getting on their bikes and cycling long journeys in all weathers. In the past, their trips in Europe have included cycling from Rotterdam or Zeebrugge to Nimes, Carcassonne, Prague, Venice, Vienna, Berlin and Milan. Two years ago Paul and Bernadette cycled thousands of miles from St Malo to Nice.
They said: "We decided to take on this virtual ride by clocking up our mileage on local rides each day, following lockdown requirements, and relating that to where it would have got us had we actually been en route to Lourdes.
"Our 'journey' began in Clitheroe on February 13th. The first stage of our virtual route took us to Hull and the ferry crossing to Belgium. We then made our way to the Rhone Valley and travelled south along it as far as Avignon before heading west through the Pyrenees to Lourdes - all this without leaving our local area!
"We plan to 'arrive' in Lourdes on Easter Sunday (April 4th) after completing our 1,060-mile cycling challenge."
The couple are appreciative of any support local people can give in helping raising funds for Mary's Meals.