Highland cyclists join biking legend
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Scottish Tour de France legend Philippa York’s first experience of cycling in the north Highlands has been “an adventure every day”.
“It’s about 15C and blowing a gale, but other than that, it’s great,” the 62-year-old former internationalist said this week as her 1750km charity cycle around Scotland’s coast took her to Dounreay.
“I didn’t expect it to be as nice as this. I thought it was going to be quite depressing with the sky the same colour as the sea, but it’s not.
“It’s been windy now and again, a bit rainy, but it has been better than expected.”
As Robert Millar, Ms York became the first Briton and first Scot to win a major stage classification while competing in the Tour de France in 1984.
She went on to finish fourth overall, an achievement unmatched by any UK rider until Bradley Wiggins 20 years later, and also recorded podium finishes in the Tour of Spain and Giro d’Italia.
She is currently making her first ever visit north of Inverness on the Scottish leg of charity challenge The Great Tour, to raise money for a children’s hospice in the Dorset area where she now lives.
Along the way, she has been kept company by local riders, with around a dozen joining her on Saturday morning as she left Caledonian Stadium in Inverness, and twice that number joining her from Wick Cycling Club when she reached the Far North.
“The further north we get, we get more people,” Ms York said.
“You don’t have to do the whole route. You can come and ride with us for half-an-hour or just a few minutes.
“Having new people gives you new things to talk about, so it makes it easier.”
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