You may not see a yellow jersey on the Champs-Élysées until later this year, but Big Issue supporter Jacob Hill-Gowing donned sport’s most iconic clothing to toast the end of his own Tour de France challenge today.
The novice cyclist’s 41-day, 3,500km (2,200-mile) Le Tour de Flat journey saw him pedal the distance of the world’s greatest cycle race and the mammoth challenge came to an end today three weeks ahead of schedule as he raised more than £16,000 for The Big Issue Foundation, our charitable arm.
Jacob, 28, had no experience of cycling on the road and had been using the exercise bike in his one-bedroom London flat as a clothes horse before he embarked on the challenge on March 22 – and he told The Big Issue he didn’t even know how long the Tour de France was before beginning.
He had pencilled in the date of May 22 to finally finish the challenge but Jacob’s progress has been incredible and he crossed the line three weeks ahead of schedule earlier this afternoon. His fundraising goal was also smashed too – Jacob originally targeted £5,000 but saw his total jump from £8,000 to £10,404 as he closed in on the finishing line.
“It’s mental. Just thinking 40 days ago I was doing the first 45km and now I managed to save a little bit in the locker for that sprint finish and the final run to the end,” said a jubilant Jacob after completing the challenge.
“I just want to give a big shout out to everyone who has supported me in the last 40-odd days and a big shout out to Stevie and all The Big Issue vendors and all of the people at The Big Issue and The Big Issue Foundation.