Around Arran on two wheels
A contingent of cycling fanatics, including three generations of one family, have taken part in a round-Arran cycle dubbed Le Tour de Arran.
Jan Vissers, his father Peter and son Mauro, all from Belgium, attempted the 55mile cycle with 10 friends in aid of the charity To Walk Again. Remarkably the charity was set up by Jan after a car accident in 2012 which left him completely paralysed in one leg.
Determined to undertake the huge challenge, Jan had been toying with the idea since 2009 after running a half marathon on Islay and stopping over on Arran to visit the Isle of Arran Distillery. His interest in whisky comes from being the Arran whisky ambassador in Belgium and running a shop selling Arran whisky: a connection which earned him a special private cask of specially-produced Arran whisky.
As for training, Jan said: ‘We had training sessions and some long rides in the Ardennes to get used to long distance cycling.
‘Once the big day came, gusting wind and pouring rain made it hard for the ill-prepared; there was sickness, crashes, hunger and cold but at the end of this epic ride nine out of 13 did the complete tour. One made it up to the last hill but couldn’t go down since he had no more brake shoes left. And young Mauro managed to do 75 per cent of the journey which is a huge accomplishment for a 13-year-old boy.
‘All participants will never forget the warm welcome at the finish line from the distillery staff where we were tired and wet but so happy and proud that we made it.’
Money raised from the sale of the special Le Tour de Arran cask whisky and donations, totalling more than €5,000 will be donated to To Walk Again once all of the sponsorship funds have been collected.
Jan Vissers, father Peter (with whisky bottle) and son Mauro, join the rest of the team before setting off around the island.
Arran Distillery managing director Euan Mitchell congratulates Jan Vissers on successfully completing his Arran challenge.