It’s a seven-year charity cycle project with a difference: two London cyclists are riding between every Lifeboat station in the UK to raise funds for the RNLI – around 220 stations.
For the past four years, friends Nick Pleydell-Bouverie and Rad Hart have taken ten days’ annual leave each summer to cycle a leg of their 7,000km journey to every single lifeboat station in the UK.
And at the beginning of June the intrepid duo – a surveyor and a wind farm developer – begin their fifth leg, starting where they left off last year, Oban, and heading up the west coast out to the Outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands before returning to the mainland.
Pleydell-Bouverie said they were expecting the terrain of their next leg to be tough, but were more worried about the midges and the potentially epic Scottish weather.
So far they have raised almost £30,000 and hope to reach the £40,000 mark when they finish their epic ride in London in 2016. The pair was originally going to ride Land’s-End John O’Groats, but the route was already well-covered. After also rejecting a plan to ride the entire length of the UK coastline, they eventually settled on their unusual lifeboat station ride.
Previous legs included London to Devon, Devon around tip of Cornwall to Newport, the whole Welsh coast to Chester, and Chester to Oban. The latter stage included trips to the isles of Jura and Islay.
The toughest terrain they’ve encountered so far was the north coast of Devon. “It was unbelievably hilly, with the weight we were carrying, and almost killed us,” Pleydell-Bouverie said.
After four years on the road, the pair, who ride unsupported, have pared their luggage down to the bare minimum – last year Hart even cut his toothbrush in half to save weight.
According to the RNLI there are 236 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland; many are unmanned until there’s an emergency. Pleydell-Bouverie and Hart said they take a photograph outside the station before pedalling on to their next destination.
Bianca Fischer, fundraising and communications manager at the RNLI, said: “It is incredibly admirable what these two guys are doing. A challenge of this scale is not often seen in the RNLI, and to have two such passionate and enthusiastic individuals fundraising for us is an absolute pleasure. I really look forward to congratulating them on the completion of their event, and wish them the best of luck for their next leg of the tour next summer.”