Intrepid cyclist bids to join elite club of Mont Ventoux

Marcus McEwan
Marcus McEwan

A cyclist from Thame is to take on the challenge of one of France’s most challenging mountains in memory of his grandfather.

Among those will be Thame Cycling Club member

Marcus McEwan, a member of Thame Cycling Club, will be pedalling up Mont Ventoux (1912m) in Provence three times within 24 hours on June 2 to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK.

If he succeeds, he will become a member of the ‘Le Club de Cingles du Mont Ventoux’ (Club of the Mads of the Windy Mount).

Marcus, who has lived in the town for 17 years, said: “Cycling has always been of interest to me and joining the Thame Cycling Club two years ago has given me the confidence, and training, for this challenge.

“A few years ago my grandfather, Alan West, died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease and I have been meaning to do something of note to mark his remarkable life and to hopefully raise money for Parkinson’s UK in the process.

“Alan was in Bomber Command in World War II and as a young navigator faced his own remarkable challenges. In later life it was the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease that shaped, but did not define, this incredible man.

“Originally from Derbyshire he served in the RAF in both Bomber and Coastal Commands throughout WW2 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) for bravery in action.

“In later years he trained as a cabinet maker and rejoined the RAF in Air Traffic Control. He was a keen cricketer and cyclist.”

The Mont Ventoux Challenge first came to Marcus’ attention when he took part in a cycling trip to the Alps.

He said: “In each village at the foot of the mountain you have to get a card stamped and upon successful completion become a member of the Club de Cingles du Mont Ventoux.”

He hopes to raise at least £660 which is equivalent to £1 per minute that he expects to be riding.

His JustGiving page is at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MarcusMcEwan and Marcus said any donation, small or large, will be very gratefully received.”

Marcus has been supported through the preparation for his challenge by his wife and two teenage daughters.