Getting his kicks on Route 66

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With this week being National Bike Week, how would you like to cycle 2,451 miles in three weeks?

Well, that’s exactly what Jim Windass will be doing when he tackles America’s historic Route 66, to try to raise in excess of £10,000 for Dove House Hospice in Hull.

As a training ride for the main ‘Cycle 66’ event, Jim cycled along part of the UK’s National Cycle Route 66 on Saturday, starting from his home in Hull and finishing at the Dove House Hospice shop in Market Weighton - a distance of 22 miles.

Jim, 63, will begin his mammoth 2,451-mile journey at Loving Heart Hospice in Los Angeles, California, before winding through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Jim will finish his gruelling ride across America at Cycle 66’s other partner hospice, Rainbow Hospice in Chicago, Illinois.

The ride will start on 4 August 2012 and Jim hopes to have reached Chicago by 27 August, giving him just three weeks to complete his task.

“There are no contingency plans,” he said. “We must get there for 27th, as that is when the plane leaves.”

Jim has taken on this challenge in memory of his late wife Christine, who was looked after by Dove House Hospice during her battle with cancer.

“That is the primary function, to raise money for Dove House,” Jim confirmed. “My experiences of Dove House over the four days we were there were excellent.

“It is quite simple what they do, apart from medical help to the patients. You almost take it for granted, but they are good at what they do.

“Just being there when you want to talk to someone and their presence and professionalism. When people are so professional and friendly, it makes that journey that bit easier.”

One journey that won’t be made easy for Jim, however, is cycling Route 66, with a mix of terrains and temperatures that will be somewhat different from his spin classes at the gym.

“This will be a different environment,” he admitted. “Mountains, deserts and lowlands. The Rocky mountains will be a bit hilly. Arizona is pretty arid so that will be a bit warm. It gets greener as you go further east and further north.

“There is only about 85 per cent of it actually remaining that is road, some of it is turnpikes or motorway and some of it has disappeared altogether, so we just do as much of it as we possibly can.”

Although Jim is taking on the challenge of Route 66 by himself, he will have his younger son Andy Windass on board for the latter half, as a physiotherapist, and a driver-cum-cook-cum-photographer, Stephen Horncastle, who will be travelling behind in a motorhome, where they will all sleep.

When asked what he hopes to get out of the ride, Jim said: “Satisfaction. It gives me a last chance to push myself before I get any older.

“I’ve always liked to push myself, both mentally and physically, and this is the pinnacle of my charitable endeavours.

“If I achieve the goal of raising £10k, then Dove House can carry on providing that service which I found so very helpful.

“Dove House helps friends and relatives by giving them support. By helping Dove House, that helps them. Because of the support they gave me and the lads, it would be a good way for me to put something back into the system.

“Chris went through 18 years of pain with cancer without complaining, so doing a bike ride is nothing.”

If you would like further information, or to sponsor Jim on his challenge, follow the links on www.cycle66.co.uk, like Cycle 66 on Facebook or sign up to the Cycle 66 Twitter feed. Donations can be made online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JimWindass.