Cycle marathon cops are dis-mounties

TWO Suffolk policemen almost had a nightmare start when they began their epic 2,000-mile cycling challenge from Canada to Mexico.Neil Smith, 35, a dog handler, and Tony Spry, a member of the Operational Firearms Unit, had covered 80 miles on the first day when both were thrown off their bikes near the Canadian border after their front wheels were caught in a railroad.

TWO Suffolk policemen almost had a nightmare start when they began their epic 2,000-mile cycling challenge from Canada to Mexico.

Neil Smith, 35, a dog handler, and Tony Spry, a member of the Operational Firearms Unit, had covered 80 miles on the first day when both were thrown off their bikes near the Canadian border after their front wheels were caught in a railroad.

After devoting so much of their spare time to preparing for the month-long adventure to raise money for charity this was the last thing the pair based at the force's Martlesham Heath headquarters wanted.

But they dusted themselves down, got back on the saddle, and finished 11 more miles before resting ahead of the next day's route.


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The duo are being accompanied by 62-year-old Norman Wilcock who is driving the back-up vehicle.

By the time the ride is finished they will have spent more than 3,000 hours on trying to raise £20,000 for charity.

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Mr Smith and Pc Spry both have asthma and Mr Smith's son Matthew is also a sufferer and has twice been admitted to hospital after an attack. This prompted them to choose the National Asthma Campaign and they decided to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Charity on the suggestion of Mr Smith's wife Melanie, a nurse on a urology ward.

The two other chosen charities are the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle, and the American Lung Association of Washington – the trio hope those two charities will inspire people in America to contribute during the ride.

They chose the United States for the long-distance ride partly because fuel and food were cheap, and they hoped the route would encourage sponsors. This is not a charity arranged event and the men undertook numerous preparations before setting off.

Encountering diverse terrain, ranging from long flat sections to steep long climbs, by the end of the 28-day ride they will have pulled the weight of themselves and their bikes up the equivalent of 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest.

They have an average daily target of 70 miles to complete which does not appear too far in one day but the cyclists said that to repeat it day after day was no mean feat.

The three main sponsors are TXU Energi, evo76 and Specialized. Cheques, made payable to Cycle Challenge 2002, can be sent to Cycle Challenge 2002, c/o evo76, The Technology Centre, Station Road, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 9EZ.

You can follow their progress by logging onto www.bobbyonabike.com.

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