Three keen cyclists conquered one of the toughest Tour de France mountains on a BORIS BIKE and returned it within 24 hours – with 22 seconds to spare.
Cycling-mad Rob Holden and pals Ian Laurie and Matthew Winstone hired one of the street bikes in London and put it in a van and then drove onto the Eurostar train.
They made their way 800 miles to Mont Ventoux in the south of France where Rob reached the top of the 1,912-metre peak using just THREE gears.
The trio then drove all the way back to London and managed to return the bike just 22 seconds short of the 24-hour deadline which would have incurred a #150 fine.
Rob said: “We went for a cycle and stopped for a coffee.
“Out of the blue, Ian just said ‘I wonder if you can rent a Boris Bike and take it down to Mont Ventoux, ride it up and bring it back within 24 hours.’
“We all had a bit of a laugh at that, but then we decided to give it a go.”
Rob paid #2 to hire the heavy 22kg bike at 3:59 on Saturday October 26 from a docking station in Southwark, London.
The trio then bundled it into a van, and drove to the Eurostar, and then made their way more than 720 miles across France to the base of the 6,270ft mountain.
Supported by his pals, Rob battled against cramp, exhaustion and the bike to pedal the 14-mile route to the top of the mountain in an impressive 2 hours and 55 minutes.
He took the toughest southern route which has an average gradient of 7.43%.
Rob battled 25 degree heat, cramp and a heavy bike, unlike professional riders who have 20-plus gears and ultra-lightweight frames.
Rob said: “I had no idea what to expect. I was just taking it one kilometre at a time.”
After reaching the summit the trio drove back to London, where they dropped the bike off at a docking station.
Filmmaker Ian Laurie, from Kingston, Surrey said: “The only real thing we could do was see if we got the fine or not.
“I never for one second thought that we would be that close.
“We were the last vehicle that was allowed on the Euro Tunnel going back. Then it was ten minutes late.”
The pals pushed themselves to the limit to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and have already raised an impressive #3000.
Ian said: “The charity thing was very much one of the reasons for doing it. It would be a waste not to raise money.”
In 1967, British cyclist Tommy Simpson died of exhaustion trying to reach the summit of Mont Ventoux during the Tour de France.
The route from the south is 21.8km long and takes 1h30m-2h30m for trained amateur riders.
Professional riders can do it in 1h-1h15 min and the record ascent of 55 mins 51 secs was set in 2004.