17th October 2010 Words & Photo: Matt Lamy
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Greg Churchouse, Roy Stride, Peter Ellard, Job: Pop stars on a London-to-Brighton Chopper Challenge
Roy: We’ve been involved with the WellChild charity for over a year and they asked us to become ambassadors. We’re not quite sure who came up with the idea of riding from London to Brighton on Chopper-style bikes. There was a pub, there was beer, and there was a discussion between us about doing something for the charity.
We thought: everybody does London to Brighton so how can we make it more interesting? As it’s a children’s charity, why not do it on children’s bikes? Nobody’s done that before, and now we know why.
The original plan was that we were all going to get Raleigh Choppers — it was going to be a proper ‘Chopper Challenge’. But then we went on eBay and started buying just Chopper-style bikes. When I was a kid I always wanted a Grifter and a Chopper, but I never got one, and I still haven’t had one.
There was a fair bit of walking on the ride. These kinds of bikes aren’t designed to take our weight and if you try to get out of the saddle they make a sound like something is going to snap. But I thought we did quite well. We could have done it in a day, but it would have been a long day.
Coming up Ditchling Beacon was interesting. There was this super-fit guy on a road bike that must have gone past us five or six times, he was going up and down for fun.
I live near Richmond Park, so that’s a nice place to cycle around. I do go out to ride a bit, but because we’re touring so much it’s very hard to find the time. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to do this was just to get out and enjoy the countryside for a couple of days. Even if the experience was a bit painful it was a really good challenge.
When you’re on tour you tend to have a lot of people doing things for you, so being stuck in the middle of nowhere, with the rain coming down, and having to work as a team to fix one of the bikes was actually good fun.
This article first appeared in the November 2010 issue of Cycling Active magazine