Harwood woman's epic bike rides for Parkinson's disease

Joanne Lever prepares for her new cycling challenge

Joanne Lever prepares for her new cycling challenge

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , entertainment reporter

JOANNE Lever had not ridden a bike for 20 years when she decided to get back in the saddle and cycle from Land’s End to Twickenham.

Now she is back on two wheels as she prepares to ride more than 300 miles, from London to Paris, to raise money for a charity close to her heart.

The 43-year-old, from Harwood, will embark on the four day challenge on June 4 in aid of Parkinson's UK as her mother Barbara, aged 79, who lives in Harwood with husband Derek, has the illness.

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition, affecting about 127,000 people in the UK, and the main symptoms are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.

The people development adviser for TNT Express said: “They are trying to find a cure for Parkinson's and they want to try and change people’s attitudes towards it and give people a greater understanding.

“Someone is diagnosed with Parkinson's every hour which I didn’t realise.

“My mum has had Parkinson's for the past 12 years and that’s really the reason why I decided to do it.

“As a family, we know the trials and tribulations she has had.

“It’s a disease that is maybe not quite as well understood as a lot of other diseases that are out there.

“I thought it was a perfect opportunity to raise a bit of money.

“I have set myself a target of £500.”

The ride will see about 50 people embark on the 309 mile challenge — completing about 86 on day one, followed by 82, 75 and then 66 on the last day before travelling home on the Eurostar.

Joanne said: “My fiancé, Chris, is flying in on the Saturday to meet us at the Eiffel Tower when we finish.

“It’s cost a lot of money, over £800 of my own money for the ferry over on the Wednesday, hotels and our meals.

“I think there are about 50 of us doing it. I went on the bike last year, I got cajoled into it.

“It was the first time I had been on a bike for 20 years.

“I couldn’t even stay on it at first but I thought, if I’m going to do it then I’m going to do it.

“I did Land’s End to Twickenham last year for the Wooden Spoon charity and that was a little bit longer but over a longer period of time.

“I do a long ride at the weekend, about 50 or 60 miles. During the week, I try and do shorter rides.

“I’m getting there.”

To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/joanne-lever1

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