PNE boss gets on his bike

Simon Grayson at the launch of his charity ride
Simon Grayson at the launch of his charity ride
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson will swap the warmth of the Greek sunshine for two days in the saddle when he sets off on his charity bike ride on Friday morning.

Grayson, 45, is cycling from London to Amsterdam to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign.

More than 250 people from Football League clubs are taking part in the 145-mile event.

PNE’s head groundsman Pete Ashworth and the club’s stadium electrician Mick Townsend are among those in the saddle.

It is Grayson’s aim to raise £25,000 and donations on his ‘Just Giving’ page have reached nearly £24,000.

He is riding in memory of his good friend Stephen Garbett who died last year after a battle with prostate cancer.

The bike ride starts just a couple of days after Grayson’s return from a family holiday in the sun.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “I’m looking forward to the bike ride, although I’m not too sure an 
all-inclusive holiday in Greece was the best preparation!

“Saying that, I hired a bike in Greece and got out on the road a few times.

“The training has been something I have enjoyed over the last few months.

“At my peak I was covering 40 miles at a time.

“Most of the training has been done on the roads around Clitheroe, near to where I live, which have plenty of hills.

“The route we are riding on Friday and Saturday is flat so hopefully it won’t be as tough as some of the training rides.

“Getting out on the bike these last few months has been good for me.

“It allowed me to switch off a bit and collect my thoughts, especially during the build-up to the play-offs.

“I feel a lot fitter, have dropped a bit of weight and I will continue cycling after this ride to Holland.

“A knee injury I’ve got from my playing days prevents me running too much nowadays, so cycling is great.

“By the time we set off, I hope to have raised my target of £25,000.

“Together with the lads riding with me – some from the club and some friends – we hope to get up to £35,000, which includes other events like the fans’ forum we had at Deepdale a few weeks ago and the charity match.

“This is a great charity we are raising awareness and money for.

“My friend passed away from the illness and he has been my inspiration for taking part in this. I think this is the third year the bike ride has been done and it is the biggest yet.”

The ride starts at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road ground in East London and ends at the Amsterdam ArenA – home of Ajax.

Said Grayson: “We set off on Friday and are due to arrive in Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon.

“We will have time for a night out there on Saturday, before coming back on the Eurostar the next day.

“No doubt I will be a bit saddle-sore by then but it will be worth it.”