Cyclist takes on Mont Ventoux in Boris bike adventure - video
Robert Holden takes three-speed 50lb bike to south of France and returns it to London in just 24 hours
A CYCLIST managed to ride a Boris bike up Mont Ventoux – a gruelling 6,273ft peak in the French Alps – and return it to London before his 24-hour rental limit expired.
Robert Holden, along with friends Matthew Winstone and Ian Laurie, paid just £2 to hire the bike for a day, collecting it at 3.58am one Saturday morning from a docking station in Southwark and returning it at 3.57am the following day – with just 22 seconds to spare before having to pay the £150 fee for exceeding the 24-hour limit.
The trio took the bike by van through the Eurotunnel and then drove to Mont Ventoux in the south of France where Holden pedalled the unmodified three-speed 50lb bike to the top.
Their efforts have so far raised more than £3,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity chosen by Holden because his father suffered from the disease.
The group filmed the challenge and the YouTube video has since gone viral, racking up nearly 30,000 hits.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has congratulated them on their challenge. "Huge congratulations to the trio who have conquered Mont Ventoux for charity and shown our Gallic cousins just how sturdy our city's hire bikes are," he said.
Winstone said the idea came as the three friends went for a cycle ride and decided to see how far they could get on a Boris bike in 24 hours. "We thought 'Let's get it somewhere that's a real cycling Mecca' - and it doesn't get much harder than the Ventoux for cycling," he said.
Holden, who completed the 14-mile climb in two hours and 55 minutes on 26 October, said: "The ride itself was ridiculously hard. My whole body was in pain but I managed to fight on to the summit."
Mont Ventoux, one of the toughest Tour de France mountains, became infamous when cyclist Tommy Simpson died of exhaustion just short of the summit in 1967. Eddy Merckx needed oxygen after winning the climb in 1970 and this year Britain's Chris Froome took a famous stage victory there on his way to winning the Tour de France. ·