Sunderland couple, Ian Watson and Carol Robb, have a dream. They are lucky enough to own a holiday home in Dalyan, Turkey and their dream is to cycle from Sunderland to their favourite holiday bar, Sofra Bar and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support at the same time.

Ian and Carol

Ian, 53, and Carol, 56, run CycleWorld in High Street East and, in May this year, they decided to live their dream and set about making it a reality.

“For the first time in our lives we can afford to take a break from our working lives and give this a go and, at the same time, raise money for Macmillan cancer support.”

“We’re doing it for Macmillan because we feel it’s the best cause and it helps a lot of people” 

“The money which goes into research just goes to make the drug companies money, where Macmillan helps people through their cancer.”

"Our jerseys are here"
“Our jerseys are here”How much do they want to raise?

Sunderland 2 Sofra Cycle Challenge

The rough plan for their route will take them around the Alps, passing through Switzerland and Italy as they head for Greece and then on to Turkey. The will be following the the new EuroVelo routes (European cycle route network).

How far is it?

Sunderland and Dalyan are roughly 2,500 miles apart, although the couple are not sure how many miles exactly they will cover, depending on their route.

They estimate they will ride up to 100 miles a day, with some sections covered using public transport.

Sunderland 2 Sofra Cycle Challenge
Train from Basel in Switzerland

Ian and Carol have both cycled for years and, although they don’t have an urgent deadline, they are hoping to make the journey in one month.

The bikes

Ian and Carol are riding two Giant Toughroad bikes with 2 pannier bags on the back of each and one handlebar bag. Their kit, tools, clothes, toiletries etc to last us around 4 weeks are all packed into these bags.

“We don’t have any back up or support vehicle, just us, the bikes and our kit!”

Sunderland 2 Sofra Cycle Challenge
“34 mile bike ride from Sunderland to Blyth and back – about a third of the miles we will need to be doing each day”

The journey begins

Ian and Carol left their Whitburn home on 30 May, catching the ferry to Amsterdam from North Shields then through the Netherlands and onwards.

Ian and Carol on the first day in Amsterdam.

“Little video of us bombing through one of the forest cycling routes in holland, fantastic experience!”

Little vid of us bombing through one of the forest cycling routes in holland, fantastic experience.

Posted by Sunderland 2 Sofra on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sunderland 2 Sofra Cycle Challenge
Carol in Xanten

Yesterday Ian and Carol reached Xylocastra in Greece after 22 days on the road! They’re well on the way to reaching Dalyan.

Why not go along and cheer them home!

How much do they want to raise?

They aim to raise £3000 and have raised over £1000 so far.

You can support Ian, Carol and this great cause by making a donation via their JustGiving page.

Sunderland 2 Sofra Cycle Challenge

To follow their amazing journey you can read daily updates on their blog – S2S – Sunderland to Sofra

You can also follow them on Facebook

Click here to read the article in the Sheilds Gazette