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Pedal power times eight for charity

Suzanne Harrison
Suzanne Harrison

A North Tyneside woman is part of the way through eight tough cycling routes across the UK to raise funds for a good cause.

Each of the rides on Suzanne Harrison’s schedule involves climbing. She started in Scotland on March 31 and she is set to do her final ride, in the Scarborough area, on August 25.

Her mother, Elsie Harrison, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012.

Despite the best efforts of the medical profession and care from lots of people, she died in December 2016 due to complications of the illness.

Having seen at first hand the effects of this condition on her mother and family and friends, Suzanne was inspired to support Alzheimer’s Society in its efforts to defeat dementia. More than £1,500 has been raised so far.

The West Moor resident said: “I have retired from my role as a PE teacher and for many years have enjoyed cycling as a hobby.

“It was my 60th birthday in 2017, so I decided to set myself a challenge for 2018 and it needed to be something I would find difficult.

“My main passion is mountain biking, but due to a mental health issue I was going through I was unable to drive and so I couldn’t get to the places where I would normally do some mountain biking.

“This meant I started doing more road cycling and so when a friend saw an article in Cycling Weekly describing the eight hardest sportives in the UK, I had a look and soon decided that doing all of them would be my challenge.

“I’m taking part in the actual events for some of the rides and for the others, I’m picking a date and doing the route.

“The five I’ve done so far have been tough, but I’ve also enjoyed them. I’m grateful to my friends and family for their support, including the people who have ridden with me on some of the routes.

“The conditions leading up to the first one in Scotland weren’t good, but we were lucky with the weather and I was able to appreciate the scenery and the twisty climbs.

“I like being outdoors and I enjoy the feeling the speed of the bike and both climbing and descending. I also enjoy testing myself and finding out what I can do on a bike.

“Doing these rides is also part of my ongoing recovery.

“Any further donations would be absolutely amazing and gratefully received to help me with my fund-raising efforts for the charity.”

On Saturday, Suzanne is doing the route of Struggle The Moors in North Yorkshire. It features no fewer than six significant climbs, a number of which have average gradients of more than 10 per cent.

The total distance for The Monster in Wales, which she is set to ride next month, is 186 miles.

To make a donation on Suzanne’s online fund-raising page, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/suzanne-harrison4