NOVICE cyclists from Hale and Altrincham are tackling a monumental cycle ride to raise money for charity.

The 11 friends, some of whom only learned to ride in January this year, will cover two countries in the challenge: the ‘Tour De Farce’.

Money raised will go to the Christie’s young oncology unit and the Manchester branch of the National Autistic Society.

Organiser Linda Atkinson joked: “When I went to buy the bike and told the girl what we were doing she said ‘You’re joking’!”

The office administrator admits they are all ‘very amateur’ but determined to last the three and a half days and 220 miles from Tower Bridge in London to Paris.

Linda said: “Most people who do it are cyclists and are fit. We’re starting from scratch.”

After seven of the group received brand new bikes at Christmas, they began lessons through a ‘fantastic’ Transport For Greater Manchester run scheme. Although new to the sport, Linda is resolute. She said: “I can’t be the one crying at the back because I can’t do it.”

The friends taking part are: Margot Gordon, Judith Hickey, Becky Jacobs, Clare Kay, Moira Percival, Anne Hodge, Mimi McQuaid, Sally Percival, Ian Horsman and Richard Percival with designated van man Alan Percival and navigator and assistant Adrian Percival.

They are funding all costs for the event themselves setting an initial target of £7,500, all funds raised going to charity. Donations can be made via: