Two Sheffield men are determined a couple of broken ribs won’t get in the way of their plan to cycle four countries in four days for Bluebell Wood.
Dez Omar from Woodhouse and Jon Howard from Hackenthorpe, who have been friends for 45 years, are taking their cycling ambitions up a gear with an aim to ride 300 kilometres from Sheffield to Dunkirk in May.
However, Dez, a retired firefighter with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, was forced to put his training on hold when he broke two ribs skiing in France. Jon, a business manager with Nicholls Colton, put in the miles for both of them until Dez could return to training.
Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, the pair have already beaten their initial fundraising target and are on track to raise around £700 to help the children and young adults with life-shortening and life-threatening conditions that Bluebell Wood supports.
Dez said: “We both took up cycling last summer after it hit home that we’re too old to play football any longer, and a call up from Sheffield Wednesday was looking highly unlikely. Within a few short months we decided to cycle coast to coast to raise money for a local charity. This was a fantastic experience, so this year we thought we’d take this achievement a step further and go international, cycling from the UK to Belgium, Holland and France.
“The Sheffield to Dunkirk ride will take us to Hull on 9 May, with an overnight ferry to Zeebrugge in Belgium. From there we plan to cycle to Sluis in Holland, then back over the border to Ghent. After this we will head to Bruges and then on to Ostende. Our route into France will take us to Dunkirk and then back to Ostende before returning to Zeebruge on 12 May. We are hoping to exceed 300 km in the saddle.
“We’ve been meeting up every week since last summer, cycling up and down the hills of Sheffield, but unfortunately I broke two of my ribs skiing in France in March, so my training was put on hold. Hopefully l’ll be back cycling again soon.
“We chose Bluebell Wood as we believe it’s a fantastic charity. We only live a few miles away and we think that everyone involved does an amazing job and deserves all the support we can give.”
Gail Parkin, Community Fundraiser, Bluebell Wood, said: “We hope that Dez gets better soon and that he and Jon have the trip of a lifetime. We really value their support as every penny will make a real difference to our families, helping them to make special memories, whether they have days, months or years left together.”