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The Riders

The riders all hail from the insurance and personal injury claims professions. This page provides  biographies of each of the riders and progress updates on their strict training schedules.   We asked each of our riders:   

  1. What do you love about cycling?  

  2. What is your favourite cycling route? 

  3. What is your special cycling training regime?       

  4. Mont Ventoux has an average gradient of 7.1%. How many times do you expect to get off and push? 

Donald Fowler - Premex Group Chief Executive 

1. I am actually very new to the sport and only bought a bike in January of this year!  Chris signed me up for the Ventoux challenge before I had a chance to think about it and say "no" I am now a cyclist!  A novice or not, I have to say I am really enjoying being out in the country roads although my maiden ride was in wind and driving rain so just as well you didn't ask me that question back in January!  That ride really made me wonder what on earth I was doing, although they could only be more enjoyable after that! 

2. Being so new to the sport I don't really have a favourite quite yet as we are trying different routes most outings, but I am loving exploring some of the back roads north of Leeds - very quiet with great views all round. 

3. Whatever it is not enough to prepare for Ventoux!  I am getting out on the bike every weekend and a couple of times during the week if I am able, and with only 8  weeks to go, it's now all about getting the longer rides in and being used to being on the bike for hours and hours.   

4. Hmmmm....I would love to say "zero" but I am pretty sure that is a daft response.  Will give it my best shot though.  I saw a U Tube video of a chap who did it on a 3 geared London Boris how hard can it be?



Chris Wheatley - Premex Group Sales & Marketing Director

1. Cycling is only sport I've done where every muscle and thought in my body is willing me to stop  - on a steep climb springs to mind, and a few minutes later I'm fuelled with adrenalin and endorphins flying down a hill.

2. Climbing up Latigo Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains then looping back via the hippy commune of Topanga

3.  mmm…train and much as I can indoors until the weather gets better and ignoring rule #5 as much as I can    

4. What if I'm pushing someone else - does that count? 


 Peter Thompson, BGL Group 


1. Getting out in the countryside, getting away from work, being able to eat more cake (not necessarily in that order)

2. I know a lovely couple of routes that take me out of South Leicestershire into Rutland and Northamptonshire. Some rolling hills, fabulous landscapes and great café stops (more cake)

3. Half a loaf of Soreen, bit of cycling, nice slice of Cherry and Almond

4. Hmm, get off yes, push no. I'd really like to cycle the whole thing but being realistic, I'll need a breather here and there but I'm not planning to walk any of it. I'm sure I'll need the odd stop to take on vital nutrition (you've got the idea now). 


David Bott, Bott & Co

1. The cup of tea at a roadside café. 

2. Don't really have one but like the Cat and Fiddle.

3.  Don't really have one but lots of hills seems to be the way to go. 

4. I will stop at the Simpson Memorial and hopefully that will be the only time I have to get off, but let's see how it goes.

Jonathan Scarsbrook, Irwin Mitchell

1.  I've always enjoyed cycling with the family on the mountain bikes and only purchased a road bike in Feb 13… but what a difference, I love being able to cover some significant distances on the road, to actually go somewhere a real distance away feels like an achievement in itself.  Not to mention I'm a bit of a speed freak and 50mph+ on two weels is always a laugh.  

2. Over the last year myself and a couple of colleagues have been dragging ourselves out of bed before 5am to cycle about 25 miles through Derbyshire before heading into the office.  There are a few routes between, Rowsley, Bakewell, Chatsworth, Ringinglow etc that are particularly enjoyable.  I must say at 5pm we don't always feel like doing it all again in reverse!

3.  I can't say I have a special regime… it boils down to  - Fit in as many miles as you can when you can!  I was pleased to have bought a turbo trainer through the winter and Sufferfest is great, but I certainly don't get as much time in the saddle as I would like.

4.  Honestly I have no idea... I don't want to push at all, but that's probably not realistic.  If you haven't seen it, watch the recent film, 'The Armstrong Lie' and just see what Lance has to say about Ventoux.

 Jonathan Scarsbrook

Russell Atkinson, National Accident Helpline

1. A great way to keep fit whilst being sociable and it's a sport you can do whatever your age. I also love all the gadgets!!

2. A local route to my home that takes in 4 counties in 30 miles and has all sorts of terrain from flat Fens to some moderate hills and includes Rutland Water. 

3. All I intend to do is a bit more of what I normally do. A ride to work a couple of times during the week (35 miles round trip), a longer ride on a Sunday up to 75 miles supplemented with a run or a weights session. I will also attempt a couple of 100 mile sportives prior to the event including one a week before (thanks Mr Simcott!).

4. My aim is to get to the top no matter what the speed is without pushing. I will observe tradition and stop at the Tom Simpson memorial but otherwise a long slow pedal.

Craig Budsworth, Garvins 

1. There's two things I really love about cycling, the first is being out in the fresh air.  No matter which cycling route you choose you always find some quiet roads where you can put your foot down and get that rush of travelling fast under your own speed.  The second thing is the camaraderie.  This is two fold in itself.  Nothing beats riding as a group where you can push each other and take turns on being the front man but it's also the polite nods of hello to the numerous other riders you pass on your route, sometimes when they're going the same way, you just end up drafting together for a while anyway. 

2. Definitely up Winter Hill.  There are so many different ways of getting to it that it's always a slightly different route involved.  More importantly, you're never on your own when you take it on.

3.  I try to do as much interval work as I can in a ride.  In other words, I try and ride has hard as I can followed by a recovery period and then do the same again, over and over.           

4. My biggest aim of the trip is to try and not get off at all.

 Craig Budsworth

Darren Pardon, ACM

 Darren Pardon 2

Andrew Simcott, Michael W Halsalls Solicitors


1. If I am honest I have never used to enjoy cycling, it was just a means to end for competing in triathlon. In the last couple of years I have grown to love it, possibly an age thing, and now I love either riding on my own or with friends for 4 hours every Sunday, being outdoors in all weathers and the feeling that the fitness brings. 

2. My regular 105 km route around the Cheshire countryside which has a few nice climbs along the way, lots of rolling hills, beautiful scenery and most importantly traffic free roads. 

3. Hard work and lots of miles! I commute regularly to work on road  and also throughout the winter off road to build my base fitness, I do a long ride of circa 4 hours every Sunday and supplement with turbo sessions whenever needed although I much prefer being outside. 

4. I don't expect to get off and push and would be disappointment if I had to.

 Andrew Simcott