'Bikepacking' pair from Keynsham set to pedal the Pyrenees

Published on: 05 Feb 2016

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February 2016

A Keynsham couple are combining their love of cycling and exploring mountains in a challenge that will see them pedal the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest not just once, but two and a half times.

Kate and Geraint McGregor Michael, who live on a boat at Phoenix Marine, will be “bikepacking” 650 miles from Spain’s Mediterranean coast to its Atlantic coast along the Pyrenees mountain range.

Carrying all their gear with them, the pair will be aiming to cycle around 20 to 30 miles a day and camping out at night.

The challenge will be benefiting two causes close to the couple’s hearts, as the inspiration for the journey was losing 41-year-old Kate’s mum to cancer in August last year.

Now Kate, an educational consultant, and 38-year-old web developer Geraint, also known as Gez, aim to raise £2,000 to be shared between Cancer Research UK and Bedford Hospitals Charity, where Kate’s mum was cared for in the Primrose Unit.

Gez said with just a matter of weeks to go before they set off on April 24, they are spending as much time in the saddle as they can. He said: “We both enjoy mountain biking and hiking, camping and trekking, but it’s only recently we have started to put them together – bikepacking. We’ve only had a few nights away, so three or four weeks will be a bit of a shock.

“We are training locally on the Cotswold Way, we’ll be cycling the Ridgeway from Bedford to Keynsham to test all our gear out – and figure out what can be left behind! – and we’ll be putting in some proper mountain miles in Wales and the Lake District when the weather improves.”

As well as donations, people have been supporting the couple’s fundraising efforts in other ways, with Green Park Bike Station offering to give their bikes a full service and a friend giving them some Spanish tuition to help with finding refreshments and the occasional place to stay on the way.

Gez added: “On tough days the donations will keep us going, particularly if we reach our target. The views and the coffee should help, too!”

To find out more about the bikepacking challenge and to donate, visit http://gomandrake.co.uk.

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