Sheffield bike ride for diabetes

Keith Wathen is preparing to bike around the coast of Great Britain.
Keith Wathen is preparing to bike around the coast of Great Britain.
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It is a long, long way around Britain on a motorbike – but two determined brothers are determined to see it through.

Keith Wathen, aged 55, and his brother Ian, 48, are biking 4,000 miles around the entire coast of mainland Britain in a classic motorbike and sidecar.

The pair hope to raise £10,000 for Keith’s diabetes charity, Living With A Lion – set up after he was diagnosed with the condition himself.

The three-week challenge begins at the Humber Bridge, near Hull, then follows a route as closely as possible around the nation’s coastal roads.

Keith, a property developer, said: “We’re looking forward to it, but we’re very nervous. The bike’s an old machine and it will break down.”

The motorbike is a Royal Enfield Bullet 500, a model originally built in the 1950s, while the sidecar, a Watsonian Avon, rolled off the production line in the 1960s.

Keith, of Beighton, said: “We’re having to take as many replacement parts as we can. It all makes it more exciting, though.”

Keith said his charity’s name was coined after he once compared living with diabetes to ‘living with a lion’.

He said: “I was very seriously ill when I was diagnosed.

“I had hypoglycaemia, which left me in a coma, and I had a fit which stopped me breathing for 20 minutes.

“While I was recovering, I bought a motorbike to keep myself busy.

“One day, I spoke to my brother and said ‘I feel so lucky I’m alive, I should raise money for diabetes’.”

Keith said the ride was first completed in the 1920s, when it was about 3,400 miles – but the journey is now longer as more roads have been built.

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