AN idea suggested over a pint between friends has culminated in 14 farmers swapping quad bikes for pedal bikes to cycle 135-miles for charity.

The Dales Farmers on Tour initiative will see farmers from around Teesdale and Weardale, in County Durham, cycling the Coast to Coast route to raise money for various charities, including the Great North Air Ambulance, Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation and Meningitis Now.

They will depart from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, on Thursday, June 5, and are due to arrive in Sunderland, on Saturday, June 7.

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The group comprises Kevan Bainbridge, Neville Bainbridge, Daniel Bell, David Bell, John Bell, Joe Butterfield, Greg Dalton, John Gilson, Trevor Guy, Paul Johnson, Martin Sayer, Tony Walton, Michael Watson and Jason Williams.

The first part of their route will be around 50-miles from Whitehaven to Penrith, in Cumbria.

On Friday, June 6, they will depart Whitehaven for an uphill climb into the Pennines, rising nearly 2,000ft above sea level, on Hartside Pass and onto the Langdon Beck Hotel, in Upper Teesdale, County Durham, via Garrigill.

The final day of the cycle, on Saturday, June 7, will see the team will tackle Harthope Pass – the highest paved road in England – before heading up Crawleyside towards the finish line, in Sunderland.

A spokesman for the team said: “As many of the best ideas do, this one started over a pint or two at the Langdon Beck Hotel and the later it got, the better the idea seemed.

“Added to this were one or two really good friends egging us on and the next we knew, we’re cycling the coast to coast.

“There is an average age of 45 – just one of us is 19 or the average would have been much older – and only a couple are regular cyclists.

“Most of all, the Dales Farmers on Tour is about raising cash for a number of causes that are dear to our hearts.”

A Facebook page, called Dales Farmers on Tour, has attracted more than 400 followers.

The page provides followers with regular updates on the team’s training progress and sponsorship.

The team's spokesman added: “This is going to be a popular and well supported tour which will attract a lot of attention.”

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