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Cycling duo attempt Covid 'Coast to Coast' tandem challenge




Rebecca and Chris Hunter, a couple who recently relocated to Merseyside, will be attempting to cycle the ‘Way of the Roses’ coast to coast route distance for a charity close to their hearts, but with a few twists! Given the current restrictions on travel, the couple will be attempting the 170 mile distance by cycling around the beautiful 2.5 mile loop of Sefton Park 68 times. To make things a little trickier, they’ll be attempting the challenge over the course of just two days, and on a tandem. Their motivation behind attempting this challenge comes from the current financial burdens on a charity Chris used to work for, Open Country, which helps people with disabilities to access and enjoy the countryside. Whilst the majority of Open Country's outdoor activities are based in Yorkshire, the charity produces a free downloadable Countryside Directory for Lancashire and Merseyside. The directory features accessible places for people of all abilities to enjoy getting out into the countryside. Since lockdown back in March, the charity's activities have grinded to a halt which has severely impacted their finances, threatening their future. These worrying times come in what should have been a celebratory year with the organisation marking its 30th anniversary. Chris says: “Hearing how badly coronavirus has affected small charities such as Open Country is heart breaking, especially when you know the tremendous value of their work first hand. These are very difficult circumstances for the charity so we’re hoping to help them weather this storm as best we can. “Our inspiration for the challenge came from hearing that they were unable to undertake their annual tandem cycle, in which volunteers and disabled members work together to pedal a long distance cycling route, usually coast to coast. The charity is famous for throwing the limitations and stigma associated with disabled people out the window and redefining what people with disabilities can achieve” says Chris. “It felt appropriate that by attempting this challenge on their behalf we could help raise some much needed support for them.” Chris, who is a National Trust Ranger in Formby and trainee clinical psychologist Rebecca, aim to achieve their feat on a tandem, something which Chris is very familiar with having led one of Open Country's tandem cycling club for a number of years. For Rebecca, it's a new experience. “I’d only been on a tandem once, before we took up the challenge, and it didn’t go very well”, Rebecca admits. Nevertheless, the brave duo are looking forward to the challenge, which they will attempt in July. “Any donation, large or small, will go directly towards continuing Open Country’s fantastic work, and helping them to get back on their feet when life returns to normal." To find out more information about Chris and Rebecca's challenge and to sponsor them, please visit their fundraising page https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CovidCoastToCoastChallenge To download Open Country's Countryside Directory for Lancashire and Merseyside visit www.opencountry.org.uk/countryside-access-directories

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