AN 11-year-old schoolboy from Uplyme has raised almost £800 for Devon Air Ambulance by cycling to Scotland in less than five days.
Orlando Migliari, who left Mrs Ethelston’s Primary School in July, was joined by his dad Justin on the 410-mile cycling challenge last month, averaging just over 80 miles a day to reach Gretna Green.
On the first day, Orlando and Justin cycled from Lyme Regis to Tintern Abbey in South Wales, which was the first time Orlando had ever cycled more than 100 miles in one day.
Dad Justin commented: “He loved cycling across the Severn Bridge into Wales and I think he was pretty amazed that he’d managed to cover such a distance on his first day.”
On day two they reached the Shropshire Hills and day three took them to Cheshire. Day four saw a gruelling stretch across the Forest of Bowland to the small town of Bentham, and on the final day they took in the edges of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District to reach their final destination of Gretna Green, just inside the Scottish border.
The ride was completely unassisted, with Orlando and his dad carrying all their own kit, including a tent and sleeping bags, and they didn’t even have the luxury of a campsite – simply pitching up on grass wherever they could.
Having previously enjoyed long-distance cycling rides together, the father and son were considering what their next challenge should be when they saw the Devon Air Ambulance responding to an emergency in Uplyme, and agreed they wanted to raise money for the charity.
Justin commented: “I can’t help thinking that Orlando really pushed himself for the air ambulance. He’s not a cyclist per se, he’s not in a cycling or triathlon club, he just enjoys riding his bike.
“He is very fit thanks to his gymnastics and he follows a healthy diet, which is why I had enough faith in him that he could do the ride. That and the fact he’s a determined and bright young fella, who knew what he was doing.
“We had previously cycled twice to Paris and we’d covered a couple of coast to coasts together, so we had an idea what the distance would feel like.
“It was a testing ride, with countless hills, some wet weather to contend with, and some challenging roads. But Orlando never complained once, and although he was clearly tired, he never said so, and when he was hurting, no tears were shed.
“Unbelievably, the main diet to fuel him the 410 miles or so was sausage rolls and custard creams! No funny protein concoctions or gels and only good old fashioned tap water to keep him hydrated.”
Orlando and Justin would like to thank all those who have supported and sponsored them, and Colyford Cycles for their help in getting their bikes ready.