An intrepid team of St Giles fundraisers is preparing to cycle all the way to the top of Mount Everest… without ever leaving a Tamworth bike shop!

Eight cyclists – led by long-time hospice supporter Steve Godwin – will take on the virtual challenge at the town’s 2 Wheels Only store at the Beauchamp Industrial Park, in Watling Street, on Sunday 23rd February.

Using a GPS system attached to bikes in the store, the riders will simulate almost nine ascents of the Alpe du Zwift, a virtual climb which will match the height of the real Mount Everest.

(From left) Steve Godwin gets encouragement from Zoe Wright and Ellie Ryder from St Giles Hospice.

Starting at 7am, they are expecting to reach the summit in around 20 hours.

A ninth bike will also be set up in the store for friends and customers to take it in turns to join the team in the challenge.

Steve, who is Workshop Manager at 2 Wheels Only, is raising funds for St Giles to thank the hospice for their care of his dad Maurice.

He said: “This virtual Everest ride has swept the world of endurance challenges and we’re all really looking forward to taking it on, as not many people have completed it yet.

“I was looking for a new cycling challenge to help St Giles and this one really fits the bill. I’ll be taking part with friends and shop customers, all people I’ve ridden with in the past, and it’s really inclusive – a great representation of the local cycling community.

“I’d like to thank my team mates Brad Jones, Simon Stretton, Steve Barnes, Phil Banks, Martin Dimbleby, Stuart Underwood and Karl Holt for taking on the challenge with me.”

In 2018, Steve tackled all three routes of Cycle St Giles Whittington cycling 140 miles in one day. He followed that challenge with a 23.5-hour cycle ride up and down Boot Hill in Grendon, climbing the equivalent of Everest (more than 29,900ft) by cycling up the hill an amazing 127 times.

Steve’s dad Maurice, who was diagnosed with a cancer which had spread to his bones, died just a few days after Steve completed his solo Everest challenge. He had spent two weeks in the hospice for symptom management but wanted to spend his last days at home and was able to do this with the support of the community team at St Giles.

Steve said: “We are so grateful for everything St Giles were able to do for dad and they really put him at his ease and made sure he was comfortable. They are able to take a lot of the fear out of what happens at the end of life and really make it as bearable as possible for the patient and their family.

“The team is happy to support St Giles because everybody knows somebody who has been supported by them and we have had customers in the shop who have been in their care.”

Steve and the 2 Wheels Only team also support St Giles Hospice by providing marshals and mechanical support at the hospice’s Cycle St Giles events.

Zoe Wright, Senior Events Coordinator at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’d like to thank the whole team for taking on this amazing challenge to support St Giles and would like to wish everybody the best of luck.

“St Giles spends more than £10m each year caring for local people and their families and only around a third of this is funded by the Government so we are very grateful to all of our fundraisers.”