"Sitting at around 6 feet above the road does bring some advantages in terms of visibility, but the heavier frame and added kit well need will make it a real challenge"
A local cycling enthusiast aims to take bike riding to new heights with a special charity ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in the next few weeks - with special support from a Tyneside engineering company.
As a fun challenge, Karl McCracken, from Whitley Bay, will be riding the length of Britain on a specially built ‘tall bike’ - an unusually high design with normal wheels but with an extended frame and raised position of the pedals – that will put him head and shoulders above other cyclists and most other road users.
Karl will be riding the Lands End to John O’Groats route with his friend and keen fellow cyclist Scott Brimley from Luton to raise funds for Changing Lives, a national charity based in the north east that helps people who are in crisis or who need support to overcome serious challenges. Karl and Scott aim to raise £5,000 for the charity.
The two cyclists hope to set a world record for the fastest ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a tall bike. However, if successful, it will be an unofficial record as tall bikes are not recognised as an official category of transport because they are not commercially available.
Nevertheless, Karl and Scott aim to complete the arduous trip in less than two weeks by breaking up the journey into daily stages ranging from 45 to just under 100 miles.
Karl said: “This is a bit of a silly thing to do, but it's for a good reason - we're raising money for a great local charity, Changing Lives, who do an amazing job in helping thousands of vulnerable people and their families, every year.
“I’ve been a keen cyclist for many years now and first built a tall bike for the Whitley Bay carnival last year. Later in the summer, I rode to Edinburgh and back on it and thought that since nobody had set a record for Land's End to John O'Groats by tall bike, I’d give it a go.
“Sitting at around 6 feet above the road does bring some advantages in terms of visibility, but the heavier frame and added kit we’ll need will make it a real challenge – particularly in headwinds and on hills.”
Karl and Scott are being supported with their challenge by Walker-based engineering company, Royston Diesel Power.
With the size of the bikes making them too big to attach to cars and unable to be taken on trains, Lee Priestley, Royston’s Stores Supervisor has helped the riders with logistical and transport arrangements to make sure that the bikes arrive at the starting line in Cornwall ahead of the anticipated Friday, 12th July start to the ride.
Shaun Cairns, Operations Manager of Royston, said: “When we heard about Karl’s fundraising ambitions we were delighted to offer our support.
“Changing Lives does a fantastic job in helping to transform the lives of so many people and we wish Karl and Scott every success in completing what we are sure will be a fun, but very challenging mission.”
Anyone interested in supporting the charity fund raising ride can do so at www.justgiving.com/tallbike