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Stuart climbs up into the saddle for an epic ride.

MADCAP fundraiser Stuart Kettell has begun a marathon cycle ride from Lands End to John O'Groats - on a penny-farthing.

The father of two set out on Saturday morning and expects it will take him about three weeks to complete the journey in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Stuart, who runs his own video production company, will be travelling the 874 miles unsupported on his penny-farthing - riding 50 miles a day on the bike, which has no suspension, no inflatable tyres, no gears and no brakes!

Explaining why he wanted to raise money for the charity in such an unusual way, Stuart said: "We've had a few friends and relatives die of cancer and Macmillan have been a great support to them.

"It's all about living with cancer - not just about the patient, but their family and friends as well.

"We're trying to come up with crazy ideas of ways to raise money.

I'm going to be doing something every year for Macmillan now."

Stuart, who lives in Binley, has been training 15 miles a day.

He said: "I've fallen off five times and there's no good way to fall off. It really does hurt.

"Being a fixed wheel I've been training for hills - down hills and up hills.

"Down hills, the bike can run away with you, you have to back-pedal all the time. It's the hardest thing to get used to - that and the fact that you can't stop.

Stuart reckons the first stages in Cornwall and the last in Scotland will be the hardest.

He will be travelling on A and B roads, and is hoping he does not fall foul of potholes and drains.

And as he has just two tiny pannier bags fitted to the small rear wheel of the bike, he will be staying in bed and breakfasts along the way - and eating whatever he can buy on the way.

The 44-year-old added: "I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be a great adventure.

"This is the challenge everyone has said I can't do so I'm even more determined I will do it."

And despite her husband's strange plans, wife Debbie said: "I'm really proud of what he's doing, but I still think he's a bit mad.

"I don't think he quite realises how hard it's going to be."

People can track Stuart's progress by logging on to his website at www.


I'M OFF!... Stuart Kettell waves goodbye to Doreen Thompson, his wife Debbie, daughter Sophie, aged seven, son Scott, aged 12, and Dan Thompson at the start of his 874-mile ride on a penny-farthing. Picture: Joe Bailey DJ200908PENN1
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 22, 2008
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