This road-and-mountain-bike sports rider is the epitome of a successful endurance cyclist. He has just completed 535km of the hardest roads in Europe. The equivalent of over three Tour de France mountain stages back to back. A race against the clock, the elements, but most importantly a race against his inner being. The Tour de France, as we all know, is considered to be the most difficult cycle race of them all.
In amongst my research around Mike Cotty and his extreme bike riding, I came across some interesting cycle companies. Cotty needs no help deciding what to do and where to go – he has what is known as background… his team, his experience, his name; and he can ultimately make his own decisions. But there are many people who would like to do some extreme bike riding but don’t really know how to get a trip off the ground. The logistics in themselves can be more than a major headache. So it was nice to see that there are various companies out there who are happy to do or the organising for you, as long as you join one of their trips.
‘Bike Dreams’ sounds great. It is run by Wilbert Bonné and Rob van der Geest, both passionate Dutch cycle riders who organise tours all over the world, most notably a Paris to Dakar ride, a ride along the Andes Trail, another to Timbuktu from Dakar and of course, the Italian and French road rides. All of them diverse, interesting, extreme endurance cycles.
And then there’s another company, this one’s Australian and it’s called ‘200 Tomorrows’. It is the brainchild of the Oncology Children’s Foundation’s Charles Dennis, who explains: “We’ve branded our relationship with the public through the name 200 Tomorrows. That name is a reference to the, on average, 200 children every year in Australia that lose their battle with cancer. We realise it’s a bit subtle and we don’t try to ram it down people’s throats, but that is the reason for the name.”
200 Tomorrows sets up a number of challenges all based around cycling events that riders can aspire to. In Australia the rides include the Spring Cycle, Fitz’s Challenge and the Audax Alpine Classic. Overseas rides are both road and mountainbike. The road events include the Tour d’ Olympia (Greece), La Bella Italia (Italy) and the Les Dix Alpes in France. The mountain bike events are the Andes Trail, Everest Challenge, Sydney Swans Vietnam Mountains and the Dakar to Timbuktu.
There are also a number of walking trips.
To give you an idea of the scale of these rides, Les Dix Alps begins in Como, Italy and over 13 days winds its way through the Alps over some famous climbs such as the Simplon Pass, the Col du Grand Saint Bernard and the Col de Iseran and finishes in Nice (PipAitken).
Just two companies that might inspire you to go search for your own ‘ultimate ride’.