Sunderland cyclist on 4,500-mile mission round Britain’s coast

Ray Haswell in Sunderland on his way cycling around the coast of Brtiain.

Ray Haswell in Sunderland on his way cycling around the coast of Brtiain.

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A CYCLIST is taking the trip of a lifetime as he rides round the coast of Britain.

Ray Haswell rode through his home city of Sunderland as he hit the quarter-way mark of his 4,500-mile mission to cycle round the UK’s coast.

The 58-year-old, who was born in the East End and grew up in South Hylton, set off from Dorset on May 21 and is expected to spend two months on the road.

He is raising money for Gearing Up For Gorillas, which is raising funds for the first environmental education centre in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Haswell, who completed a 2,000 mile ride from Gibraltar to Trafalgar Square in 16 days for the Dorset-based charity four years ago, said: “Many people say I’m totally mad to attempt this but I know I am.

“It’s a challenge I’ve always wanted to take up and to be able to raise funds for G4G at the same time, is a fabulous bonus.”

The former Monkwearmouth Grammar School pupil said: “Since I’ve started, I’ve taken the occasional day off as my plan was always to have some easy days and some hard days.

“So far I’m really enjoying it and it hasn’t been a chore, it’s been pleasurable despite the rain and bad weather.”

Mr Haswell spent the night in Redcar before travelling to Sunderland mainly using cycle routes on disused train lines. He spent the night with his brother in the city.

“It’s great to be able to ride through Sunderland and see the city,” he said.

“The North East is my home and it felt strange getting to the Humber Bridge where the accents change and thinking I’m in the North East now.

“That was something special.”

During his ride, Mr Haswell, a seasoned cyclist who was a member of Sunderland Clarion in the 70s and has taken part in long touring races in South America and South Africa, will pass through 55 counties, cross 10 major bridges, use 336 ferries and pass through 21 areas of outstanding natural beauty.

To sponsor Mr Haswell, visit www.justgiving.com/Ray-Haswell.

Twitter: @sunechochief