Dave rides every mountain for Prospect Hospice
This November, flying and paragliding instructor and ex-RAF engineer Dave Cox is saddling up for the challenge of a lifetime – a 1,500-mile solo mountain bike ride from the top to bottom of New Zealand. His goal? To raise £3,000 for Prospect Hospice and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Besides the eye-watering distance, Dave faces another big challenge. "I have five fused vertebrae and worn-out joints from my earlier power-lifting years, so I know this will be no picnic," he said. "I don't want this to be a 'jolly'. I'm not one for pain and discomfort – but Prospect Hospice and Wiltshire Air Ambulance are worth it."
The ride will take David through some tough terrain and weather in a country that's close to his heart. "I travelled around New Zealand about 10 years ago in a camper van and fell in love with the place. The scenery is stunning. And because its population is quite small, the roads are relatively safe."
Dave's chosen charities also mean the world to him: "I became friends with a Swindon-based chap who I was teaching how to paraglide and fly microlights. After being diagnosed with cancer, he spent his last days at Prospect Hospice. I was so impressed with the care he received. And Wiltshire Air Ambulance has assisted several of my friends over the years."
To get in shape for the ride, Dave has been steadily building up his training. "I'm a casual mountain biker and have never ridden more than 30 miles in one ride. So I've been doing reasonable rides uphill in the wind and rain to prepare myself."
Dave requires lots of equipment, including camping gear and tools – but to make sure the charities get every penny he raises, he's funding the challenge from his own pocket. "If any local bike firms, shops or companies would like to help me with equipment, that would be fantastic," he said.
To support Dave's ride for Prospect Hospice and Wiltshire Air Ambulance, visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/coxy