Sunday, September 16, 2012
MOVE over Bradley Wiggins, the real cycling hero of 2012 is George Higgins – a pensioner with Parkinson’s who has just pedalled to Paris.
Mr Higgins, who is a spritely 71, cycled up to 80 miles a day for four days to reach the French capital, arriving on Sunday (September 9).
He was the eldest of 102 riders taking part in the annual London to Paris bike ride and he was one of 13 who raised a whopping £4,500 for Parkinson’s UK.
He told The Hunts Post: “It was hectic and I fell off a couple times, but only suffered a few scrapes. We cycled along the Champs Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe – one old boy lost his teeth on the cobbles!”
He continued: “I was the oldest and least experience but they (the riders) all helped one another, they were a great team. The whole atmosphere was fantastic and it was superbly organised. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend it to everybody.”
Mr Higgins had been training for five months but said after the 380-mile trip: “No matter how fit you think you are, you can’t beat age. The average age of the riders was 30 or 40 and they recover much quicker than I do. You can do it one day but to do it continuously was draining.”
The cyclists started their daily ride at around 7am and finished at 6pm. On one day, Mr Higgins drank five litres of water.
“By the time I’d had a shower and something to eat it was time for me to go to bed,” laughed Mr Higgins, “I think some of the other lads stayed up and had a few more beers though!”
When asked if he was proud of his achievement, modest Mr Higgins said: “I’m proud of all the people who supported us. This has been about all the people in St Neots and Ramsey and all the people who couldn’t really afford to but gave a fiver anyway. We had children putting in pound coins and one 16-year-old girl who rolled up a £20 note and put it in our collection because her granddad has Parkinson’s. It has been very emotional.”
Mr Higgins, who is the chairman of the Huntingdonshire branch of Parkinson’s UK, said all the money raised will directly aid local sufferers and help fund research into the incurable condition.