Teacher’s pedal power to help poverty charity

Michael O'Keeffe having a bike fit with Paul Bonham at Terry Wright Cycles Market Deeping.
Michael O'Keeffe having a bike fit with Paul Bonham at Terry Wright Cycles Market Deeping.

A science teacher is gearing up for an epic 900-mile cycle ride to raise money for a charity providing clean water to impoverished countries.

Michael O’Keefe, of Horbling, is planning the 12-day journey to boost funds for Catholic aid agency CAFOD.

The 56-year-old father-of-two will begin the gruelling trip from Lincoln Cathedral on August 12, cycling to northern France – a distance of 2,000km when combined with the journey back.

“I am doing this crazy event to raise awareness of CAFOD’s work to tackle water poverty, and to raise funds to support their work,” said Michael, who works at Skegness Grammar School.

“I’ve done a few challenges in the past – such as climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif – but this is by far my greatest physical challenge to date. It’ll be 10 days of gruelling riding within strict time limits.”

Michael got back into the saddle last September and re-discovered his love for cycling. He has been training hard around Lincolnshire since.

“Once I set off on the race, my plan is to just keep my head down and remember why I’m doing this. Although I may be sleeping out in the open air a few times during this challenge, getting water is unlikely to be an issue for me.

“I’ll keep thinking about those living in countries for whom access to water, let alone clean water, is a constant struggle for survival.”

He added: “It will be CAFOD and the people they support and my amazing family, friends, students and fellow teachers who have donated money and have a real belief in me to complete the race that will keep me motivated when the going gets tough.”

Michael hopes to complete the course and return home by August 24.

l To sponsor Michael visit justgiving.com/Cafod