Articles - Ride, fat boys, ride!

AXA Wealth executives put wheels in motion for Help the Hospices

 In late August, five senior managers from AXA Wealth plan to stretch the Lycra and pimp their bikes, pegging playing cards to the spokes, to ride a 120 mile ‘all terrain' cycle challenge from Basingstoke to Bristol in aid of Help the Hospices.

 Leading the ambitious bike hike is Mike Kellard, CEO, AXA Wealth, who hatched the idea last Christmas as he ground his bike to an embarrassing halt, after completing just three miles of a 20 mile cycle challenge with work colleague and executive manager Dave Deadman.

 Kellard says: "It was an epiphany. While it was the constrictive undergarments and not my fitness that brought the ride to a premature halt it was clear we needed to get fitter. My dream was that we should embark on a proper challenge that would test our skills of endurance, stoicism and stamina." Ride, fat boys, ride, was at that moment born!

 "We were keen to play a part in the company's fundraising activities this year, and peddle power seems to us to be the best way to do it," says Kellard.

 The challenge will see Mike, Dave, along with colleagues Nick Elphick, chief operating officer, Andy Barclay, head of business services and Steve Myers, head of technology services, cycle from St. Michael's Hospice, Basingstoke, to Children's Hospice South West in Bristol.

 The managers hope to raise thousands of pounds for Help the Hospices, from suppliers, business partners, staff and other generous individuals. Funds raised will provide support for hospices local to some of the company's main business centres, in Basingstoke, Bristol and Coventry.

 None of the five has cycled this distance before, and sources close to the team believe they may have bitten off more than they could chew. "In fact when this lot bite, the food just doesn't touch the sides. I can see the Lycra refusing to give, if they don't take control of their eating," said one. Another source suggested the riders en route would look like 'a sketch from 70s comedy classic The Goodies!'

 Dismissing the sceptics, the team has said it is even more determined to complete the journey, and has embarked on a rigorous training programme to get them 'match fit'. Walking themselves to meetings, picking up their own phones, and not waiting for others to press the lift buttons, are all part of the new fitness regime. "If we fail it won't be through lack of preparation," says chief operating officer Nick Elphick.

 The bike hike challenge will take place in late August 2011. Ramblers planning to be out on this route then are being warned to cover ears and noses as the riders pass, to protect them from grind of gnashing teeth and the burning rub of Lycra shorts on saddle leather.

 Anyone wanting to support the intrepid quintet can sponsor them at

 May the wind be with them!


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