WITH no fewer than six punctures in four hours and a snapped chain to cap it all – most of them unfortunately befalling one very unlucky fundraiser – the Swindon Wheelers’ cycle ride in aid of the Adver’s 160 Appeal proved the textbook definition of challenging.

The group set off at 8am last Saturday from the Adver offices ready to conquer the 160km standing between them and the Severn Bridge.

Their plan to reach the landmark in less than three hours was scuppered 45 minutes into the journey when member Kev Poole had a puncture – the first of three.

His companions did not fare any better with a further three punctures between them.

To make matters worse, Kev’s bike nearly gave up the ghost after his chain broke. Thankfully the better-equipped club members had come armed with enough tools and spare chain links.

After nearly four hours, the 19-strong team eventually approached the bridge. While the ride was much more taxing than they ever imagined, they were heartened by the fact that they had raised £800 with a further £200 to come.

“We had six punctures, three of which happened to one guy, Kev Poole,” said Joseph Theobald, club member and media sales consultant at the Adver.

“And before the last big climb on the way back to Swindon, he had a snapped chain. The man suffered. It took all his patience not to throw his bike away.

“Some people did it last year and they managed it in 2h 35min but this year it took between 3h 30 and 4 hours.

“It was a challenge but everyone wanted to do something to help out a brilliant local cause.”

The route’s level of difficulty took some members by surprise, not least Joseph who, in hindsight, wished he had put in a few extra hours of long-distance training.

“It was a challenge and some found it easier than others,” added the 25-year-old.

“But we all stuck together and when I was struggling, they slowed down. Everybody is really pleased to have raised the money. And it was nice to be able to raise it doing something that we love.”