Alpe d'Huez - EIGHT times on a fixie

Published by Lyn on 18 February 2016

Not content with climbing Alpe d'Huez once, Mikey Bartley has come up with the bonkers idea of climbing the Tour de France col EIGHT times ... on a fixie for charity.

 Michael Bartley is cycling Alpe d'Huez on a fixie

Hi Mikey. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?   

Hi Lyn, well I'm Mikey, I'm 20 right now but will be 21 by the time of the challenge in June. I'm a second year law student at Northumbria University in Newcastle. I was born in a little town in Yorkshire called Halifax.

Can you tell us a bit about this bonkers idea of yours to cycling up Alpe d'Huez EIGHT TIMES on a fixie? 

So the plan is to ride up Alpe d'Huez eight times in under a week. Why eight times? Because it's the same height as Mt Everest. Also just to make it a little harder I'll be doing all this on a fixed gear bike. The idea came about after spending a night talking to my good friend Andy North, part of the Ultra 6 challenge team – he's been a massive inspiration to me over the years, so I decided if not now, when would I do it?

Why Alpe d'Huez?

Why Alpe d'Huez? Well watching the thrilling contest between Froome and Quintana last year was one of the highlights of my cycling year. So after seeing this, I thought, 'I've got to try that!' Plus if you're going to do an epic challenge, why not do it on one of the most iconic climbs ever? Plus, I've never ridden France before, so I'm excited at trying something new.

Will you have a support crew?

The support crew, or my dad as he likes to be called, will be there in a car, supporting me all the way. He'll be supplying me with food and drinks throughout the challenge to make sure I make it.  

Can you tell us how you got into cycling? 

I've been cycling for many years, I probably started at around the age I learnt to walk. I used to live on a hill so I always remember my dad taking me to the top and just letting me go without the stabilisers. Then my big obsession with cycling started when I was around 10 – I watched my first full Tour de France and I was amazed at the fitness of these guys. After watching this, it took a gentle push from my dad to start going out properly cycling.

And what about fixies?

My fixed gear obsession as I like to see it started when I started following the Red Hook Criterium, a circuit race raced by fixed gear riders. I just thought the bikes looked so much cooler than most basic spec road bikes. With a little research, I found it wasn't too expensive to make your own perfect fixie bike. 

Can you tell us about the bike you'll be riding?

It's a Leader 725 frame with a Rookiez Carbon fork. It's a totally unique bike, which is also something I really like about fixie bikes. 

How are you training for the ride?

Training is obviously really tough. It means cutting down on things I love eating and getting up early to go to the gym before uni. Living in Newcastle in the winter isn't the easiest thing when you need to be out on the bike as much as possible, so I have to replace this with indoor training in the gym. 

Do you have a particular time or goal in mind, or are you just hoping to be alive at the end of it?

I've thought about the time goal a few times – just surviving Alpe d'huez will be an awesome achievement but if I was to put a number on it I'd say I was aiming at completing the challenge by the end of the fourth day. 

Mikey is riding for Cancer Research UK. You can support him here. He's also riding with the help of Tim Moss at The Next Challenge, after having won a grant from Tim's expedition fund.

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