Friends pedal for 200 miles to aid earthquake fund

PEDAL POWER Cycling friends, from left, Harry Bowen, Tim Phillips, Paul Chapman, Richard Wright, Robert Sizer, Casey Orrin and Sam Carr
PEDAL POWER Cycling friends, from left, Harry Bowen, Tim Phillips, Paul Chapman, Richard Wright, Robert Sizer, Casey Orrin and Sam Carr

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SEVEN best friends from the University of Portsmouth set out on a whirlwind cycling adventure to bond, party and raise hundreds of pounds for charity.

Second year students Paul Chapman, Tim Phillips, Casey Orrin, Sam Carr, Richard Wright, Harry Bowen and Robert Sizer have varying degrees of cycling proficiency – but achieved the 200-mile trip from Southsea to Colchester, in Essex in just five days.

The mix of civil engineer, business studies and history students cycled between 22 and 40 miles a day and stopped off at their respective homes in Woking, Croydon, Brentwood and Colchester along the way.

They persuaded friends and family to sponsor them to raise money for the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Paul, 20, a civil engineering student from Brentwood, who organised the event jointly with Tim, said: ‘It was great fun and everything went pretty much as planned, except for one puncture and three broken chains.

‘The only major hiccup was our first night camping at the Devil’s Punchbowl at Hindhead when we used an Australian tent designed for hot weather that let in the cold air – we were so cold we only got three hours’ sleep!’

Paul explained how the idea came about, when he and Tim were browsing Google maps trying to work out what would be an inexpensive holiday for the group.

He said: ‘The original plan was to cycle to Brighton and have a fun night out listening to alternative music bands but before we knew it we kept pushing the boundaries and wound up choosing Essex.

‘We then thought it would be a great idea to make it a sponsored event and raise funds for a worthy cause.

‘What happened in Japan shocked a lot of us and we just wanted to do our bit to help – we’re still collecting sponsorship and it would be fantastic to raise more than £300.’

The young men set out on their expedition on April 11, and completed about three hours’ of cycling a day at a speed of 10 miles per hour.

Tim, 22, a civil engineering student from Croydon who has competed in the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton bike ride for the last four years, said: ‘The adrenaline kicked in because doing this for charity gave us all extra motivation.

‘Apart from the fundraising aspect it was a great bonding experience, and there were lots of memorable experiences along the way.’

The students have raised £175. To sponsor them visit justgiving.com/pompey200.