A WEST LINTON man has cycled the Tour de France route to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

Colin Macnab, who now lives in Cannes, in the south of France, completed the 3,424km journey last month.

Mr Macnab, a teacher, said: "We are spoiled with the beautiful foothills of the Alps on our doorstep and so when the tour was announced to start in Nice, it felt like it was the year to do it."

Mr Macnab undertook the challenge with his friend David Derham between the end of July and August 20, before the professional Tour began.

Cycling almost 200km on some days, the pair raised money for Myositis UK, a charity which supports people with rare muscle conditions.

Mr Macnab chose that cause because his older brother Andrew was diagnosed with Myositis three years ago.

"It's hard living away from family and I wish I could help out more often," Mr Macnab said. “Myositis UK are a small charity fighting to improve research into this rare and cruel illness."

So far he has raised around £5,600, more than double his original target.

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When asked if he enjoyed the gruelling exercise challenge, Mr Macnab said: "I loved it – almost every minute of it.

"I loved visiting different parts of France and there was such a sense of achievement at the end of each stage."

The long-distance challenge, sometimes covering tricky terrain, meant the task posed its fair share of difficulties.

"It was relentless," said Mr Macnab. "We would finish late, have an hour or so to drive to our hotel, have to wash clothes, find somewhere for food, stretch, go to bed late and get up early, day after day."

But travelling across France had its perks, too.

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"It's a bit clichéd, but the wine, cheese and food were amazing,” said Mr Macnab.

"The sense of achievement. Good chats and laughs with David and our support team.

"Drinking champagne on the Champs-Élysées.

"The highlight, though, had to be the money raised for Myositis UK.

"I was really touched by the generosity and the messages of support from so many."

Leading up to the challenge, Mr Macnab and David spent their weekends cycling 200km each, and they were not deterred when lockdown limited their time outside.

"For two months where no cycling was allowed, we both got home trainers to try and keep the momentum going."

More than 3,000km later, Mr Macnab is not tired of cycling – and he is using his bike to commute to work 25km each way.

When asked if he would ever take on a similar challenge again, he said: "Absolutely. But not next year!"

To support Mr Macnab and Myositis UK, visit this fundraising page.