While many of you were taking part in street parties, eating scones and drinking tea across the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, some members of R.E.A.L. staff were pushed to their absolute limits cycling from Cumbria to Tynemouth.

This epic journey saw Martin Thorne, Maria Wills, Steve Quinn and others cycle 150 miles over three demanding days, all in aid of raising money for the R.E.A.L. Foundation Trust.

Tutor, Martin Thorne said: “I knew at the age of 66 that I would be the oldest rider of our group, and I knew it would be a challenge, but nothing prepared me for how hard the second day was.”

The C2C is a hilly ride that takes riders through the Lake District, Northern Pennines and County Durham, before the finishing point at Tynemouth Castle and Priory.

Martin said: “Getting to Hartside summit, a climb of 4.5 miles that rises 1,903 feet was really hard going, but I had a good wingman as I was joined by my eldest son, Matthew for the challenge. Although it was his Mum’s instructions to look after me!”

Going uphill only means one thing, you have to come back down and the route comes with some very fast downhill stretches, but not before climbing back up again. Martin said: “I was given the task of writing a book about all the different types of tarmac I had been looking at all day on the climbs. I have three chapters already!”

Stunning scenery, pizza stops and coffee breaks may have helped them along the way but Martin says the thought of raising money for R.E.A.L. Foundation Trust was a major motivation as they rode the final stretch towards Tynemouth. Martin said: “This money will seriously help to impact the young people we work with.

“I could not have wished for a better team. We all got on so well, we never fell out. We helped and supported each other the whole way, even after Maria got a puncture within half a mile of the finish line.

“Am I glad to have done this? Most definitely ‘YES!’ and I can tick this off my bucket list, but would I do it again? Probably not, but I would certainly be part of the support team if R.E.A.L. chose to set the challenge up again.”

If you’d like to donate to this wheelie-good cause you can do so here.