Cardiff Charity Cycle
Former Wales and British Lions rugby star Tom Shanklin was joined by nine other cyclists last week, after embarking on a charity ride from the Welsh capital to Paris ahead of the Heineken Cup match between Tom’s old team the Cardiff Blues and Racing Metro on Friday night.
And it was well worth the journey for all involved, as not only was a substantial amount of money raised for Tom’s two nominated charities – the Wooden Spoon Society and Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, but the Blues also recorded a famous victory in the historic Stade Yves Du Manoir.
The bike ride, which commenced in Cardiff from the Blues’ stadium on Tuesday, was part of the Tom Shanklin Testimonial Year which kicked off with the ‘Shanks Rugby World Cup Final Golf Day’ at Cardiff Golf Club last month.
Joining Tom was his good friend Paul Luger of the New Inn, Amroth, who admitted that the 300 mile bike ride, was a real challenge.
“The ride took four days…the hardest four days of my life!” laughed Paul, “but we when we reached the Eiffel Tower, where we were welcomed by the Cardiff Blues staff, team members including Jamie Roberts and Casey Laulala, and fans, it was a real sense of achievement.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their kind donations,” he added.
On his decision to organise this challenge, Tom said: “I wanted to make my testimonial year one that I would never forget and when I realised that the Blues would be playing in Paris in November, I knew that I wanted to do something to mark the occasion.
“Following my retirement from rugby earlier this year my doctor actually advised me that the best form of exercise I could do was cycling so this was the perfect challenge for me and a great way of raising money for two great charities.
“To be fair to all the supporters we had a brilliant reception when we arrived in Paris and they were all cheering us when we cycled under the Eiffel Tower,” continued Tom.
“It was great to see so many people and it gave us a real lift after such a long bike ride.
“I know the cycling team really appreciated it and I’d like to thank all the supporters for coming out in the cold to welcome us,” he added.