Cumbria Crack

Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery owner’s 5,000km biking challenge

Stuart Taylor on his global bikepacking adventures

The managing director of Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery and The Royal Barn has cycled more than 5,000km (3,107 miles) in some of the world’s toughest ‘bikepacking’ events.

Stuart Taylor, of Kirkby Lonsdale, set the challenge of completing seven epic challenges around the globe in a bid to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. His fundraising total currently stands at £4,230.

Stuart completed the Dales Divide (600km), the Italy Divide (1,150km), the Lakes and Dales Loop (315km), South Lakes Jenn Ride (160km) and the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan (1,700km). He also completed part of the 400km Highland Trail and the 240km Capital Trail.

Stuart Taylor

Stuart said: “I decided to do something different and set these big challenges to fundraise for Prostate Cancer UK. It’s a cause close to my heart, as I lost my grandad, Harry, to prostate cancer. I want to do what I can to help stop prostate cancer being a killer disease – I want to raise money that will find better ways to diagnose and treat it, as well as ways to prevent it, and to provide better support for the men living with the disease.”

Stuart’s final challenge of 2019 was the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan – dubbed the toughest bikepacking race in the world. Stuart said: “It was amazing – it was insanely brutal and beautiful all at the same time. The most challenging aspect of it was the change in weather conditions and the speed at which they changed. For example, you could be in 30 degrees one minute and in the middle of a snowstorm the next. The temperature varied between -10 to 40+, so ensuring that you had all the kit to deal with this was vital.”

Stuart’s original fundraising target was £1,000, but that has now more than quadrupled through donations to collection boxes in Kirkby Lonsdale venues The Royal Barn and The Orange Tree, as well as his Just Giving page.

Stuart added: “My favourite challenge was the 160km South Lakes Jenn Ride, which I did on a tandem with my 9-year-old son, Zach. He made me so proud – he was strong, brilliant and polite all the way round. My least favourite was the Highland Trail, due to the extreme wet weather conditions. I was hoping to race it hard this year and beat a previous time, but it was a washout.

“Everyone has been really supportive when I’ve told them about my plans. The events were some of the most iconic and toughest in the world, so they were a challenge mentally and physically. The practical side meant forward planning – balancing the need for supplies with needing to be light and efficient, as well as finding somewhere to sleep, which can be tough. Physically, recovering can take its toll too. However, it’s worth it to raise money for a really important cause that affects 330,000 men in the UK living with the disease.”

To sponsor Stuart in his epic challenge, visit his Just Giving page:

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