A Tyneside dad is appealing for sponsorship as he gears up for a mammoth cycling challenge which will see him pedal his way across America.
Single parent Jonny Connop and his pal Martin Kay are tackling a demanding coast-to-coast route that will take in the notorious Death Valley, where temperatures hit 35 degrees, in a bid to raise enough money for The Percy Hedley Foundation to create a new sensory room for disabled children.
“It would make a massive difference to their quality of life,” said Jonny.
The pair have done sponsored bike rides before in aid of the Percy Hedley school where Martin’s wife Sara works as a physio, but this is their most gruelling to date.
“It’s almost 3,200 miles and we’ve set ourselves 30 days to do it so that’s about 100 miles a day,” said Jonny.
“We’ve decided to come up with a bigger challenge as we’ve raised just over £3,000, with the help of gift aid, and are aiming for £35,000,” added the 36-year-old from Throckley, Newcastle, who works in sports therapy and as a personal trainer.
“Even buying some equipment for it would help as a lift for the children costs £10,000.”
He’s cycled for years but personal trainer Martin, 38, from Gosforth, is a relative newcomer to the sport.
Jonny said: “He was going to be the support driver - he’d never been on a bike until two years ago - but he didn’t want me having all the fun. So he’s going from never having cycled to crossing America!”
Plans to do some training while on holiday in Majorca, to help prepare for the heat, were scrapped when the holiday money went towards paying for flights. He’ll be setting off on September 1 after celebrating his daughter’s birthday at home on August 30.
The men are hoping for support, including a way of securing a cut-price deal for car hire in the States for their support driver Jonny Morgan. Kit sponsors would also be welcome.
They have also paid for motel accommodation along the route from LA to New York, which covers a mix of demanding terrain through Las Vegas, Death Valley, the Rockies and area of salt flats.
The 100 miles a day target will depend on weather conditions. When they’re best for cycling, Jonny hopes to get “miles in the bank” to compensate for days they might struggle.
“We’ve got a starting point and a finish point and in between is a bit unknown.”
Anyone able to help is asked to visit the website www.pedalforpercy.com