A DAD from Ashington is hoping to harness all his pedal power to raise money for two charities close to his heart.
Alistair Irving, 56, is gearing up to bike more than 400 miles in 100 hours across the Pyrenees to raise money for Parkinson’s UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Alistair, a retired policeman, decided to raise cash for Parkinson’s UK after a close friend was recently diagnosed with the disease.
“We all noticed how he was getting slower and slower at doing things,” he said.
“This went on for months and months and he was eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“We just saw his condition deteriorate from being a lad who could cycle coast to coast and walk the Cheviots to someone who can still ride a bike, but only on a good day.
“That was why I want to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, it provides so many people with vital support.”
Alistair also chose to support the Alzheimer’s Society as the disease has touched many people in his life, including his mum, aunt and uncle.
Alistair, who lives with his wife Alison and sons Craig, 21, and Stephen, 16, in Blackdene, starts his cycle ride on Monday, June 18.
The ride, ‘Raid Pyrenean’, organised by Manchester-based sports travel company International Sporting Tours, will take Alistair and around 20 fellow cyclists from the town of Hendaye on the Bay of Biscay to Cerbere on the Mediterranean.
The group will cycle over numerous mountain passes, including the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Marie Blanc, Aspin and Peyresourde.
Alistair is no stranger to gruelling charity cycles, however, having taken on the French Alps in 2008, raising £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society and Arthritis Research UK.
He said: “I would say I am apprehensive about this next ride.
“I have cycled the French Alps and that was hard work and I am not expecting the Pyrenees to by that different.
“I think I will be alright though and I am looking forward to the experience.”
If you would like make a donation, visit justgiving.com/alistair-irving
To see a video of Alistair talking about the ride, click on the player above...