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Last month, a team of cyclists that included two members of NDS (Mr Alex Gordon-Weeks and Martin Pirkl) cycled coast to coast of England to raise funds for OPAL. Here, Martin tells us more.

The cyclists at South Shields

Martin Pirkl holding his bike up in front of a road sign which reads: 'A686 to Alston via Hartside summit. Altitude 1900 feet. Winter conditions can be dangerous.'Mr Alex Gordon-Weeks and I recently helped form a team of seven people who set off on a 130-mile coast to coast bike from Whitehaven to South Shields. The team consisted of four surgeons, a hospital manager, a security officer, and a research coordinator, all pulling in one direction – to fundraise for the Oxford Pancreatic and Liver (OPAL) fund, which is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity.

The biggest challenge proved to be the weather conditions. Most of the time we were battered by cold rain with temperatures as low as seven degrees Celsius which effectively protected us from overheating while climbing up the Pennines.

The team completed this ride in two days, although, as Alex suggested, it might have been easier to finish it in one go. Indeed, every break from riding meant our bodies would get colder and stiffer as the time went. It was Alex, who miraculously managed to complete the whole ride having fallen sick with cold at the start of the journey!

I would also like to give a shout out to our security officer at the Churchill Hospital, Mathew Obeng. His unconditional love for fellow human beings has already led him to organise/help organise several charity bike rides in the past and we were honoured and blessed to have him in our team.

The cyclists in front of the C2C monument.
Cyclist riding past sign which reads: 'North Pennines. Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'.
Bike propped up against a road sign which reads: 'Hartside Summit. Altitude 1903 feet.'

The team at the end of their coast to coast bike ride in South Shields.

Read more and support the OPAL Coast-to-Coast Bike Ride

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