Ottery riders to tackle Route 66 for fire charity

Jonathan Gooch, John Mathieson and Anthony Blythe, who are cycling the length of America's Route 66,

Jonathan Gooch, John Mathieson and Anthony Blythe, who are cycling the length of America's Route 66, pose with some of the firefighters in Ottery they are raising money for. - Credit: Archant

An Ottery St Mary man is cycling the infamous ‘Route 66’ in America to raise money for the Fire Fighter Charity.

Jonathan Gooch, 26, a former soldier, is taking on more than 2,000 miles of 100 degree heat and desert roads next month with a colleague from Sainsbury’s and an old school friend.

Inspired by Sir Bradley Wiggins, he wanted to take on a challenge and raise money for the group, which is the leading provider of treatment and support to UK fire service personnel.

Jonathan is currently training to be a retained fireman at Ottery station, as well as working at the nearby supermarket in Hind Street, and came up with trying to tackle the length of the infamous highway.

Asked how he managed to convince his colleague John Mathieson to come with him on the ride from Chicago to Santa Monica in California, despite neither of them having done anything like this before, he said: “He’s always up for trying to challenge himself, so when I proposed it he was completely up for it.”

Jonathan’s friend Anthony Blythe will be driving the support vehicle and is the back-up rider if either of the men are unable to continue the arduous ride through America. With the road temperature expected to be around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the cyclists have spent a long time planning their hydration strategies.

The cyclists fly out on June 10, and hope to complete the route in 17 days, riding from dawn to dusk covering an average of 160 miles per day.

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As well as sponsorship they have been putting on events, including a raffle in the next few weeks, and hope to raise around £3,000 for charity.

For more information and to donate, visit

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