A SOUTH Petherton couple have battled through hot weather and mechanical failures to complete a mammoth 770 mile cycle challenge across France to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

David and Tracy Lee rode from Le Havre to Monaco in 10 days, completing the challenge on June 3.

David Lee, a system engineer who works for Thales, and Tracy Lee, an intensive care sister at Yeovil Hospital, originally set a target of £2,000 for their French cycle challenge, but have already exceeded that by so far raising around £2,500.

David said: “On day four we experienced our first mechanical issue, a chain breakage, which in many ways is the most significant failure to have at the roadside. Luckily a local cyclist came to the rescue within minutes, a lucky escape.

“However, a gear cable failure followed, and another chain failure.

“Temperatures were generally in the early to mid 30s for virtually all the inland route.

“Hotels were generally easy to find but our mechanical breakdowns left us out of sync with our scheduled stops. One evening, after already cycling 97 miles, we found there were no hotels in the vicinity of St Vallier.

“A chance conversation with a lady who was also a keen cyclist resulted an an invite for us to stay with her and her husband, a genuine example of French hospitality.

“Arriving at the south coast and entering the sea was quite surreal, as every mile was done by pedal power alone.

“The final day was relatively short, about 20 miles along the coast into Monaco. We planned to miss the early morning Nice traffic and in doing so arrived in Monaco before 9am waiting for the swimming pool to open.”

David and Tracy are already planning their next epic adventure.

David added: “Overall it was physically very demanding, with both of us still quite fatigued up to a week after returning home. Despite the physical demands we are already planning a long distance ride in 2018.

“The charity fund raising exceeded expectations. We originally set a target of £2000, and with online donations via Just Giving, offline donations and gift aid, we have raised around £2,500.

“Thank you to the large number of individual supporters, and cooperate sponsors Invest Southwest Taunton. I would also like to thank Europcar who provided the transport to and from Portsmouth.”

Click here to support David and Tracy's fundraising efforts.