A North Yorkshire cycling enthusiast is getting on his bike to highlight Cycle 300, an exciting fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK.
James Windross, 31, from Redcar is urging men and women to sign up now and then choose how, when and where to clock up 300 miles on a bike in September.
At the beginning of this year, James took part in a 6,500 mile cycling challenge to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK in memory of his dad.
He started his challenge in Ushuaia in Argentina and finished in Cartagena in Colombia – a distance of about 10,500k.
James took up cycling when he was 20 and loved to cycle along the coast to Whitby and over the North Yorkshire Moors.
In 2011 he cycled on a tour around New Zealand and Australia and from Singapore to Uzbekistan.
Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300 is totally flexible. Participants are asked to cycle 300 miles, in September, to raise money for Cancer Research UK but can choose their own routes and pace.
There are many ways to hit the 300-mile mark. Commuters can to notch up ten miles a day on their cycle to work. Weekend enthusiasts can plan epic 75-mile routes through rolling countryside, while gym bunnies can step up the spin classes to hit their target.
James said: “I love being out and about on my bike. I think Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300 is a great fundraising challenge because you can choose how, when and where to do it, so that it fits in with your lifestyle and commitments.”
He is keen to show how taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300, and raising money to fund the charity’s work, can make a crucial difference to people, like him, since he knows first-hand the devastating effect cancer can have on families.
James’s dad, Stephen Windross, who was from Middlesbrough, died at the age of 55, just three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer of the food pipe (oesophageal cancer).
James explained: “In October 2011, my dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. He died just three weeks after being diagnosed, following complications after surgery to remove the cancer. When I’m visiting my childhood home, I often cycle to his grave in Thirsk.”
James’s dad, Stephen was originally from the Grangetown area of Middlesbrough. He was a musician – a saxophone player and then became a teacher, moving to Darlington.
James lived in Redcar until he was 12 and went to St Albans primary school, then Sacred Heart secondary school.
He moved to Skelton, where his mum and sister still live, but went off to travel, before heading to University.
James trained as a paramedic and previously worked for East Midlands Ambulance Service.
He set off on his latest challenge on 7 January this year. He took a route across five countries and faced climbs of 4,000m.
James injured his shoulder on this year’s challenge, but explained that his dad’s memory kept him going. “I was in pain and had damaged my bike too. But, I kept on thinking of what dad went through, plus friends and colleagues who’ve been through cancer treatment. Their strength kept me focused.”
Jaelithe Leigh-Brown, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North East, said: “We’re very grateful to James for his support and hope it will start a chain-reaction, sparking the interest of cyclists of all ages and abilities.
“Cycle 300 is the perfect opportunity to combine all benefits of cycling, the thrill of a physical challenge and the fantastic sense of achievement from raising money for a great cause, all at the same time.
“You can sign up to Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300 on your own or make it more social by challenging family, friends and colleagues to join you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to commit to a healthy challenge now, so you have something to aim for in September.”
Taking on Cycle 300 is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of cycling and keeping active. As well as helping to build fitness and burn excess calories, cycling regularly encourages a healthier heart, can improve mood, and can also protect against a range of diseases – including cancer.
Depending on weight and effort, participants could burn roughly between 400 to 750 calories per hour of cycling.
Jaelithe continued: “One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Research is very expensive and the only way we can afford to fund it is with the help of our supporters. By taking part in Cycle 300, men and women can make a real difference in the fight against the disease.
“Everyone who participates in Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300 will be supporting the efforts of doctors, nurses and scientists working on the front line against cancer.”
To sign up now for a free fundraising pack visit www.cruk.org/cycle300