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St Albans father writes book about his extraordinary Route 66 challenge
After setting out on the ride of his life with his friends and son to raise thousands of pounds for charity St Albans father Kevin Lynch has written a book about his extraordinary experience along Route 66.
With only a dream in mind, Kevin pounded the tarmac of Route 66 from Chicago across eight states to finish in Santa Monica California in just seven days, alongside his six friends and son Casey Lynch back in September 2012.
After completing the challenge the group of amateur cyclists, including Ross Osborne, Barry McGrath, Daniel Bacon, Michael Jones, Andy Le Marchand and Mark Locket, have raised more than £36,000 for Help for Heroes and the Willow Foundation.
Known as the father of the group, Kevin of Park Street explained the trip: "The trip itself was fantastic. We cycled in wind, rain, scorching heat and freezing cold at night.
"The challenge was a trip of a lifetime and we have all learned a lot, not only about ourselves but also the ups and downs of organizing such a trip."
After passing through Illinois, the team fought fluctuating temperatures across the rest of the Midwest. With Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma under their Lycra belts, the push took them through the deep south into Texas and on to New Mexico where they battled not only the ride but the odd dog chase too.
Hot and humid Arizona was next on the pedal path as the team moved into the Mojave desert and Death Valley. One or two ‘undulations’ later and Team Route 66 made it to California; the final 160 miles taking them into Santa Monica.
Kevin said: "We were chased by dogs, surrounded by Coyote’s and had the pleasure of cycling along the interstate which is not unlike cycling on the hard shoulder of the M25 on a Monday morning- not for the faint hearted.
The group formed after meeting on a previous challenge; having successfully completed Skyline’s London to Paris ride team leader Ross dreamt up the next ride; tackling Route 66.
A six-strong Skyline crew also supported the team around the clock over the seven days, helping to ensure they had all they needed to maintain the average speed of 15mph required at all times to complete the gruelling 400 miles per day.
Kevin continued: "Some of the guys suffered from heat exhaustion others seemed to be losing the will to live on the dangerous night shifts.
"To say the trip past off without incident would not ring true, as sleep deprivation sneaked up on us.
"Mark had the misfortune of having his bike frame broken when the RV reversed into a sign post and his bike was on the back.
"Eight riders and six crew sleeping and eating on two RV’s was a minefield of smelly cycle shorts, overflowing toilets and a race to find the cleanest bed to sleep in."
After growing interest on Facebook and Twitter prior to the trip, the group were quite shocked by the interest shown before, during and after the challenge was complete. This encouraged them to write a book about the whole experience.
Kevin added: "We wanted to show people where we went wrong, where we think we got it right and as a keepsake for all involved.
"The book is not only a bit of a keep sake for me, to document the incredible journey we’ve all been on throughout the last two year; from the initial idea of cycling Route 66, through the fundraising, the ride itself and what that’s meant for us all since we’ve been back but it’s to show what you can achieve if you really put your mind to it.
"The best part of the whole trip was all getting back in one piece and still talking to each other at the end of it - and of course knowing we’d done all that for two incredible charities.
"We have been amazed with the amount of copies sold, who knows we might have to dream up another trip."
The Route 66 team funded the cost of the trip themselves, with support from the independent London bike shop, Shorter Rochford Cycles. ‘Route 66 Cycle Challenge, Kevee’s Story’ by Kevin Lynch is available online now from Amazon, Waterstones.
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