NO one knows the highways and byways around Warwickshire quite like Martin Haywwod.
The keen Leamington cyclist celebrated his 50th birthday by jumping in the saddle and pedaling 4,000 miles around Warwickshire – the equivalent of riding to Uganda – to raise money for orphans in the east African country.
The finance director said the ride was a way to raise money for an orphanage in the poverty-stricken country but also to recognise his recovery from testicular cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1998 – ten days after his twin children were born.
He said: “When I was diagnosed I was in complete shock, it was like someone had dragged the carpet from beneath me. I realised then how often we take our health for granted.
“My 50th birthday was a very special milestone for me and it had been my intention to mark it for several years. It was also an opportunity to give something back which is of significance.”
But Martin – who lost nearly 2st by the time the ride finished – says he has loved the challenged and the chance to raise money for Ugandan charity Nzirambi Orphans Talent Development Centre, which helps disadvantaged children in the country
He said: “Some might think that cycling 4,000 miles over ten weeks could have become a chore and a grind but I can honestly say, looking back that through all of the tough times it was a life experience I have relished.
“My love of cycling has actually increased rather than waned through the ride but now I am settling down into a normal 150-200 miles a week regime just because I love it some much.”
Martin has so far raised £7,000 by undertaking the ride, which he fit around a full-time job and family life.
He says the highlights were his regular stops at Evans cycles who maintained his bike and feeling much fitter than when he started the ride.
Visit www.execlounge.com/notdec4000.html to donate.