Cyclo-Paths are all set for their epic charity ride

The Sid Valley Cyclo-Paths with sponsor Jim Hopgood from WV Fish Cycles and mascot Jude Barrett

The Sid Valley Cyclo-Paths with sponsor Jim Hopgood from WV Fish Cycles and mascot Jude Barrett - Credit: Archant

A quintet of cyclists have shed pounds and raised thousands more in their training for an epic ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Matt Barrett, Mark Denning, Steve Parry, Nick Baker and Stuart Coles – the self-proclaimed Sid Valley Cyclo-Paths – are flying 120-miles north to Inverness today (Friday) to start their challenge to aid Dream-A-Way Sidmouth.

They have already netted £4,500 for the cause with an ‘unbelievably well supported’ fundraiser at Sidmouth Golf Club, and are now well on course to ‘smash through’ their £10,000 target.

“The generosity of people is truly outstanding sometimes and really makes our challenge that much easier, knowing we’re cycling for a really fantastic amount of money,” said Matt, who works at Exeter College. We’ve had to cycle around 200 miles-a-week for the past four months and that takes some time, as you can imagine.

“It has had a real impact on family life with Mark, myself and Stephen all having young children – I know our wives will certainly be glad when it’s over.

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“On the plus side, I’ve shed nearly three stone in weight and Mark has lost nearly four-and-a-half stone, so health wise, we’ve never been fitter or healthier!”

Matt said he is nervous but ‘genuinely really looking forward to getting started’.

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The team will average a gruelling 120-miles-a-day for eight days on a challenge that most riders complete in a fortnight.

“All cyclists that take on the John O’Groats to Land’s End cycle say that the hardest days are in Devon and Cornwall, just because this area is so hilly,” Matt added. We’ve trained for months in these hills, so hopefully there’ll be no surprises!”

The group’s golf day attracted 100 players, as well as prizes - including Exeter Chiefs and Exeter City FC shirts, golf at Woodbury Park and dinner, bed and breakfast at Deer Park Hotel - for a charity auction.

All the money they raise will go to Dream-A-Way, which works across the South West to assist people living with physical and learning difficulties and their families. One hundred per cent of the money raised goes towards holidays and day trips. To support the Cyclo-Paths, visit

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