Two Dales cyclist plans Tour de France challenge for medical charity

Richard Cooke is preparing for a charity bike ride over the Pyrenees to raise money for the MPS Society, which supports his friend Maggie Louis and her daughter Hannah Ratcliffe.
Richard Cooke is preparing for a charity bike ride over the Pyrenees to raise money for the MPS Society, which supports his friend Maggie Louis and her daughter Hannah Ratcliffe.

A man from Two Dales is gearing up to get back in the saddle for another year of fundraising for the charity which supports his friend’s daughter.

Engineer Richard Cooke, 29, raised more than £3,000 for the Society for Mucopolysaccharide Diseases (MPS) when he cycled from London to Paris last year - and hopes to outdo both feats in 2018.

He said: “As soon as we finished last year I was thinking what I’d do next. So starting on April 25, I’m going to ride from Toulouse to Barcelona via some of the Tour de France mountain stages in the Pyrenees.

“It’s three days, up to 100 miles a day, with a lot of tough climbs. It’s quite daunting, but it’s also hard asking people for money, so I figure I have to step it up from last year.”

Not content with testing his endurance on the road, Richard will also take part in a half-marathon on Mount Snowdon in July.

He said: “I’m excited, and training like a trooper: six days a week, outside as much as possible or spinning in the gym on days when the weather is just too much.

“There have been some brutal days on the bike when it’s been near freezing.”

The MPS Society supports medical research work as well as individuals and families affected by a set of rare, genetic disorders - including Richard’s friend Maggie Louis and 25-year-old daughter Hannah.

He said: “Maggie is unbelievable. She does so much by herself, and Hannah is almost totally dependent on her. She is an absolute star.

“Until I met them, I didn’t know anything about MPS and neither have a lot of other people I’ve spoken to. Hopefully I can help make it better understood too.”

To help him, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Cooke88.