Tandem challenge takes off against the odds

Our charity’s co-founder, Lucy Smith, will finally set off on the gruelling tandem cycle challenge she has had to postpone for more than two years – all thanks to a last minute ‘cycling buddy’.

Lucy and Mike in training

We all know that Lucy has faced more challenges than most people have in a lifetime, but caring for two severely disabled sons who died aged 10 and 12 has spurred her on to even greater heights.

For more than 15 years she has helped run Thomas’s Fund, and on Sunday, June 12 she will climb aboard a tandem and cycle 1,027 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money and awareness of the work we do to provide music therapy for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses or life-threatening conditions in Northamptonshire.

Lucy has had to overcome even more challenges just to get this point.

She and husband Tim planned the ride and events associated with it back in 2020. Covid stopped it then, and again in 2021, and it all seemed set to go ahead in this summer until Tim found he needed two emergency back operations and spent more than three weeks in hospital.

Undeterred, Lucy asked cycling buddy Mike Ives, a software engineer from Kibworth in Leicestershire, to step in as the tandem’s ‘pilot’ with Lucy on the rear seat as ‘stoker’.

“We did a couple of hilly test rides over 100 km,” said Mike. “And I’m delighted to confirm we start the ride this coming weekend. It’s super exciting and it all feels very real now. It’s going to be a great adventure and for such a good cause.”

Tim is still planning to be part of the challenge. Driving a back-up car carrying his solo bike, he plans to travel each morning to their accommodation and then ride the last few miles of the route in reverse to meet the intrepid duo on the road.

He added: “This year has been a real shock. The back operations mean I’m in no physical shape to take on such an immense challenge and I’m so grateful to Mike for stepping in.”

To sponsor the riders and donate to Thomas’s Fund,


You can follow their progress by liking Friends of Thomas’s Fund on Facebook where the team will post daily updates.

Enjoying their training for LeJog