Gen­er­a­tion game

Around Ar­ran on two wheels

The Arran Banner - - Front Page -

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.

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