Jimmy has two big milestones in sight

Jimmy Bennie will cycle 874 miles at the age of 74. Picture: Michael Gillen
Jimmy Bennie will cycle 874 miles at the age of 74. Picture: Michael Gillen

A super-fit pensioner is hoping to cut the cake for his 75th birthday next year at the culmination of Britain’s toughest cycle ride.

Jimmy Bennie, a former over-70 world bodybuilding champion, has set himself a new challenge of cycling from a John o’ Groats to Land’s End in nine days next year, and hopes to cross the finish line when he reaches his 75th birthday milestone in April.

Jimmy’s latest expedition comes after he and a team of 12 raised just under £4000 for the Grangemouth Zetland Park appeal in July by cycling over 70 miles along the length of the Forth and Clyde and Union canals, stretching from Bowling in West Dunbartonshire to central Edinburgh.

But with 874 miles to cover in next year’s challenge, Jimmy and his band of brothers and sisters will have to cover just over 97 miles every day if they want to achieve the distance in nine days – which is the current record for cycling the route.

Already committed to the trip are Murray Ford, Helen Sedgewick, John Patrick and David and Andrew Marr.

Jimmy said: “I’m hoping to have a team of at least 10 people to do the cycle and I have six already so we’re more than halfway there.

“We are aiming to do it in nine, maybe 10, days and I am starting to double up my training to be doing about 200 miles a week by the end of the year, but I will have to get up to doing around 100 miles a day nearer the time to build up my stamina. I still have a lot of organising to do such as get hotels booked, but we do have transport and a trailer for back-up on the way sorted.”

Jimmy is organising the cycle to raise money for local mental health services as he believes provision is becoming problematic for sufferers at a time when the number of people needing treatment is increasing.

Jimmy added: “Everyone I speak to tells me the percentage of people with mental health problems is growing so this is something I would like to help out with.”

For more information search for Jimmy Bennie on Facebook.