Chris Peers, a 54-year-old businessman from Wesport Lake, in Stoke, has completed a gruelling 400 mile charity bike ride from Key West to Orlando, in Florida. The ride, undertaken in December last year, raised much needed cash for Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
Chris, a Director at Netinspire, a web design and digital marketing agency based in Tunstall, says that the ride was one of the greatest experiences of his life. As he explained: “It was an extremely difficult challenge, in humid conditions, and I have to say it was more difficult than I expected.
“Although I’ve always been fit, as I’m a regular runner, I had never done road cycling before so I found each day incredibly punishing. But the sense of achievement that I felt on completing the challenge was immense.”
Chris joined a team 13 cyclists from across the UK and Europe on the challenge, and he says it was an extremely diverse group. He said:
“The ages of participants ranged from 21-71 and the cycling ability varied from beginners, like myself, to the former Olympic cyclist Modesta Vzesniauskaite, who represented Lithuania at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
“There was an incredible camaraderie among the team even though we came from different backgrounds. We had a shop manager for a timber supply company, a retired Deputy Chief inspector for Staffordshire Police, a retired musician by the name of Steve Migden, who was one of only two French Horn players to have performed on Hey Jude by The Beatles, and John Caudwell, the telecommunications entrepreneur who founded the charity in 2000.
“But everyone got on really well and the encouragement within the group was inspirational. It helped to get me across the finishing line.”
Chris says finishing the challenge was a particularly emotional experience. As he concluded:
“We completed the challenge at Give Kids the World resort, a purpose built village that accommodates disabled children and their families.
“We were cheered across the line by 25 children and their families who were visiting Disney World as part of Caudwell Children’s annual Destination Dreams holiday for children with life limiting conditions.
“It was magical seeing how happy the children were and meeting those who we were fundraising for was brilliant! I have to admit there were a few tears shed amongst the team!”
You can still support Chris through his Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/ChrisCaudwellCycle/