Gearing up for the ride of a lifetime

NDET 31-8-12 MC 5'Mike Blair with riding partner Julian Dobb, about to join a group of famous riders on a 1600km bicycle journey from Donington Park to the Marco Simoncelli Circuit at Misano, Italy, in memory of the late MotoGP star.

NDET 31-8-12 MC 5'Mike Blair with riding partner Julian Dobb, about to join a group of famous riders on a 1600km bicycle journey from Donington Park to the Marco Simoncelli Circuit at Misano, Italy, in memory of the late MotoGP star.

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A MATLOCK cafe owner will soon be heading on the ride of a lifetime as he attempts to cycle nearly 2,000 kilometres in four days to raise money for charity.

Mike Blair, owner of PeliDeli in Crown Square, will be setting off on the mammoth ride from Donnington Park on September 9.

The journey will take Mike and 16 others through France and Switzerland before arriving at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit in Misano, Italy, 88 hours after the ride commences.

Mike said: “I’m so excited about this adventure. I absolutely love riding and it’s always great to raise money for a good cause.”

The ride has been organised by former motocross world champion Jamie Dobb and MotoGP world champion Kevin Schwantz in memory of the late MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli – who was killed in an accident during the Malaysian Grand Prix on October 23, 2011.

Amongst the team taking part in the ride are current Grand Prix riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith, BBC MotoGP presenter Matt Roberts and former Supercross star Jimmy Button.

Mike said: “Kevin Schwantz was one of my childhood heroes and it’s an honour to be riding alongside him.”

It was through Mike’s training partner Julian Dobb, of Matlock, that he became part of the Cycle of Wishes ride.

Julian, brother to Jamie, was the European Motocross champion in 1984 and now runs a construction company.

Mike said: “Julian came into the shop for a coffee one day and we started talking bikes. We really hit it off and began riding and training together from then.”

However, training for an event such as this requires a lot of dedication and it’s safe to say that Mike, along with Julian, have it in abundance.

Added to that, Mike runs a successful business alongside his wife Jess and is father to daughters Evie and Maisie.

Mike said: “It’s extremely difficult to train for something on this level without being a little bit selfish sometimes.

“I honestly don’t think I could do this without such an outstanding wife – she really is amazing.”

The charity Mike is riding for is Sparks – who fund medical research which advances the clinical understanding of conditions affecting babies, children and mums-to-be.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/mikeblair and for more information on the ride visit www.cycleofwishes.com.