Television presenter Julia Bradbury led a team of exhausted and “very itchy” cyclists over the finish line of a gruelling six-day challenge last Friday.
Clad in traditional Victorian Tweed, four cyclists made their way from Wantage in Oxfordshire as part of National Camping and Caravanning Week and arrived just in time for the start of a celebratory vintage-themed garden fete.
The first female president of the Camping and Caravanning Club in its 113-year history, Julia follows in the footsteps of Lord Baden-Powell - who formed the Scouts - and naturalist David Bellamy.
She said: “Caravan and camping is very cool. It’s seen a resurgence over the past number of years and bookings have really spiked as people are really engaging with the countryside once more and engaging with the camping experience.”
The cycle-camp challenge was being staged to raise money for the charity Sustrans, which campaigns for a greater choice of alternative travel including by foot, bike and public transport.
The team made its way from Oxfordshire, north to the Peak District and east towards Scarborough, travelling along a portion of the route which the Tour de France will follow.
However, to make things more difficult, the four cyclists wore traditional 1900’s tweed cyclist clothing. This included tweed suits, bloomers and breeches and was intended to pay homage to the caravan and camping club’s founder, Thomas Hiram-Holding.
Armed with spiked plimsolls to ward off any pesky pedestrians who got too close, Julia joined the charity cyclists for the last leg of the challenge.
Arriving a little late on to the Field Lane camp site due to a last-minute puncture, the team were cheered over the line by a large crowd who had gathered to sample some of the activities on offer.
“I have to say I’m a complete cheat,” added Julia. “These guys have done the 420-miles but I did like a mile and a half, so for them I know it’s been staggeringly uncomfortable and very itchy.”