A CYCLIST from South Tyneside completed a mammoth 150-mile bike ride in memory of his late brother in just one day.
Michael Clay, set himself the challenge of cycling from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The epic ride was something the 41-year-old had always planned on doing, but it was only after the death of his older brother Paul to oesophageal cancer, last year, that he decided to make it a reality.
Last week it was mission accomplished – despite being caught in a thunderstorm – for the Nissan worker when he finally rode into Whitley Bay to be greeted by family and friends.
Mr Clay, from Scott Court, Biddick Hall, South Shields, said: “All in all I had a brilliant day. And as hard as it was, I enjoyed every minute of it – even the thunderstorm.”
Mr Clay had set off from Whitehaven at 5.30am, reaching Keswick an hour and a half later, where he was caught in a thunder storm and torrential rain.
However, determined to complete the task, he cycled on, arriving in Alston for noon, where he broke for lunch before setting off towards Stanhope.
Mr Clay added: “The long steep climb out of Nenthead was extremely difficult, but I made it to the top only to pick up a puncture.
“The next and last big climb of the day was Crawleyside bank at Stanhope in County Durham, and it nearly finished me off, but my mother and two sisters were waiting for me, which gave me a huge boost.”
Mr Clay continued his journey reaching Baltic Square in Newcastle at 5.10pm, where he was met by a cycling buddy who rode along the north bank of the Tyne with him to Tynemouth Priory.
Mr Clay said: “As we neared the finishing line, I felt like Chris Froome on the Champs Elysees at the end of the Tour de France.
“There was quite a gathering of family and friends waving flags and cheering. They’d even stretched a winners tape across the road for me to ride through.
“It was a brilliant day and one I’ll remember for a long time to come.”
Mr Clay was backed up on the day by a support vehicle with his friend Michael Carver, his partner Danielle Lockie and their daughter Brooke in a car supplied by his employers.
To sponsor Michael, visit macmillan.tributefunds.com/fund/c2c+in+a+day/showFund