Tackling Europe’s Highest Roads On A Brompton
Since 2009, Tim Frank has been fundraising for Cancer Research UK. During this time, he has completed seven long distance European cycling challenges, raising a mighty £300,000 in the process.
Check Out Tim’s Previous Rides Here!
- 2010 : Win2Gib, 1500 miles, Winchester to Gibraltar starting off with a 300 participant mass cycle to Portsmouth to send us off on the ferry.
- 2011 : Italy Top to Toe, 950 miles from the far North to Sicily.
- 2012 : 999 for CRUK, 9 countries, 9 days over 900 miles from Winchester to Venice including the iconic Stelvio Pass.
- 2013 : Bilbao to Innsbruck Alps Extravaganza, 1500 miles from Bilbao via as many Alpine Cols as possible in two weeks.
- 2014 : Monte Carlo or Bust, 900 miles including La Bonnette.
- 2015 : The Pyrenean Sawtooth, Biarritz to Perpignan via 3 Everests of climbing.
- 2016 : Home to Rome, 1250 miles including the highest mountain pass in Europe, Col d’Iseran.
We sat down with Tim to talk to him about his latest challenge “The ABC 2017 (Andalusia by Brompton for Cancer Research)”, which will see him ride over the highest road in Europe, on a custom spec Brompton Bike, from Hargroves Cycles.
The first thing we wanted to know? About the challenge Tim will be undertaking, and how he has been training…
“Apart from our usual cycling activities, training has been with monthly group rides around Hampshire’s quieter leafy lanes culminating in yesterday’s ride through the New Forest to Calshot.”
And talking about the challenge itself, Tim shows us the planned route.
“Southern Spain was chosen because it has the highest road in Europe with the Road to Pico Veleta clocking in at an altitude of 3400m (11,1148 ft). This we thought was a suitably inspiring challenge for Brompton folding bikes!”
Tim voiced some of his concerns about the upcoming challenge…
“We have a few concerns; the heat at the lower altitudes, the cold and wind at the top of Pico Valeta, the distances on Spanish open country roads using our small wheeled folding bikes designed primarily for city commuting, running repairs of the bikes…(and riders!), getting across the border to Gibraltar with reports of confusion associated with Brexit negotiations, leaving enough time to climb the Rock and get out again and on our way in time for bed at the next hotel, the busier Southern Coastal roads we cannot avoid and finally, fuelling our travails with sufficient coffee and tapas!
Tim tells us: “It’s not the mileage or speed that’s the challenge, it’s doing it on city bikes!“
Brompton Bikes are seen every day in cities like London, because of their ability to fold into the perfect portable package – making them the ideal option for commuters.
But seeing a city bike on the route that Tim and his team are planning to take is quite rare…so, many people may wonder why you’d want to undertake some of Europe’s highest and toughest roads on a bike like this. Tim explains to us just why he is undertaking this latest challenge…
“After my wife, Marey, died of cancer I set up the Inspired Living charitable committee of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in 2009. As a GP my professional life has been dedicated to easing & preventing illness and this was a bitter blow to our young family. We resolved to fight back and, with the help of friends, we have completed 7 long distance European cycle challenges raising comfortably over £300,000 for CRUK. CRUK are the country’s leading cancer charity and are responsible for a good proportion of the cancer breakthroughs we here about regularly on the news. CRUK really makes a difference and every penny we raise goes straight to the charity, not to pay for our challenges. This will be my 8th ride and after 2 nasty accidents in large groups I was hoping to retain fundraising momentum without the risk to my friends. I got to Rome with a friend in hospital with multiple fractures, I realised that I could not be fostering an ethos that has people taking risks at high speed on bicycles any more./span>
Rome has narrow streets, many bicycles and with the concept of taking “Boris bikes” up Mont Ventoux and back within 24 hours in mind the idea of a small group of us taking city bikes on a major challenge. Whilst in Rome I emailed two folding bike companies, Brompton and Tern Cycles. There was an instant expression of interest from Brompton and silence, despite follow up contacts, from Tern.”
Nick Charlier at Brompton bought in to the idea immediately and offered to loan us up to 10 Bromptons for our challenge. In the event 7 of us are undertaking the ride, all on our 16 inch wheeled folding bikes.”
All of the team here at Hargroves Cycles would like to wish Tim and his team the best of luck for their upcoming challenge! Make sure you stay up to date by following Tim on twitter, using his handle https://twitter.com/timfrank1962.
Tim has set up a fundraising page for the challenge, so if you’d like to, you can donate here!