TWO North-East truck drivers have taken on the challenge to cycle 1,100 miles in order to raise money for a charity close to their hearts despite never cycling before.

Dan Beaney, from Darlington and Rickey Chamberlain, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, came up with the challenge after being regularly invited to charity rugby matches while playing for Sedgefield Rugby Club for My Name'5 Doddie.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Beaney said: "I play rugby for Sedgefield Rugby Club and we usually get invited along with Darlington to a charity rugby match at Kingston Park for Doddie Weir.

“Obviously with Covid and whatnot, nothing has been able to take place so me and my friend just decided to do Lands’ End to John O’Groats but a bit differently to the 700 miles everyone else is doing.

“We thought we would do it coast to coast as well so Ricky could see his family during the event so now it’s ended up being 1,100 miles.

“When we first started this, we were all in lockdown and I got my first bike in June when the first lockdown was lifted.

“Just recently in the last couple of weeks, the accommodation got back to us and said they’ll be open so we can go ahead with our challenge.

“Two local companies have been absolutely fantastic helping us in Newton Aycliffe, one is cycleways who have looked after the bikes and given us a lot of donations such as spares and gels and proteins all at no cost.

“C&A embroidery in Newton Aycliffe, they’ve provided us with cycling tops in Doddie colours and with the text Doddie on the back and hoods and T-shirts as well mostly at their own cost.        

“The rugby club has been brilliant and both of our works have been very supportive with trying to get us finished so we can get back to training.

“Friends and family think that we’re absolutely mad because it’s 1,100 miles on a push bike and some said they wouldn’t even attempt it in a car, but everyone has been very supportive.

“This is all brand new, I think that’s what is taking people by surprise is the fact that we’re not keen cyclists it was just basically what can we do, it’s one of those mad things you have on your bucket list.

“Then we had a chat about doing a coast to coast as well so that’s how it came about and believe it or not we both have the same bikes and they’re just straight out of a random sport shop.

“They’re nothing special they’re not these racing bikes that you see on the road, it’s just a bog-standard peddle bike really.

“In April I did Bolton back to Gainford which is about 100 and something miles, Ricky has done a couple of a hundred milers on a weekend.

“When we actually come to do the challenge it will be the first time we ride together because obviously with covid we weren’t able to get together and also be the first time that we do a huge amount of miles everyday.

The pair were able to meet Doddie Weir, one of rugby's most recognisable personalities, and even watched him briefly coach a game.

Doddie Weir has been suffering with Motor Neuron Disease since 2017 and in November of that year he launched My Name'5 Doddie, a charity aimed at raising funds for research on Motor Neuron Disease and make grants to MND sufferers.

Mr Beaney added: “We were able to meet Doddie at one of the games and he takes the time to actually talk to every individual person, no matter how long you want with him.

“I had the privilege of being there when he stopped everything he was doing and went out and coached the kids that were playing for 10 minutes.

“He’s an outstanding bloke and it’s a disease that hasn’t got a cure for at the moment and any help that we can give people helps and you just don’t know who is going to get struck down with it."

  • You can support Dan and Ricky on their JustGiving page here
  • You can view the event on the My Name'5 Doddie whatson page here
  • You can view the facebook page for the event here