Published: 12:00, 25 October 2019
Three England rugby fans cycled a gruelling 8,241 miles to see the world cup in Japan - only to be deluged with two days of torrential rain from Typhoon Hagibis.
It meant brothers Dale and Keith House and his son Linford, from Aylesham, faced disappointment after the England versus France game they hoped to see was cancelled.
But their effort has already raised almost £7,000 for Slide Away, which supports bereaved families, the Alzheimer’s Society and Fight for Sight.
The group had spent 111 days in the saddle crossing 13 countries to reach Shanghai, before taking a ferry across the East China Sea to Japan.
Dale, who quit his job at the Port of Dover to take on the challenge, said: “Fortunately, we were a further south so didn’t suffer the full force of the typhoon.
“But we hope to get tickets for future games and will be staying on for the finals.”
During their epic ride, they saw some stunning sights and experienced great welcomes and very different cultures.
“Although it was hard going, we were fortunate not to have any major incidents or injuries,” said Dale. “I think the worst pain I suffered was from a bee sting to the face in Ukraine.”
But he admits the challenge was far from a ride in the park.
Linford, who plays rugby for Snowdown, said: “The worst day was probably when we tried to go through the conflict zone in Donetsk but got turned away, which meant going back to the same town we started in 101 miles away and then a massive 700 mile detour.
“It was very disheartening and this was quite near the beginning - so it wasn’t a good start.
“Other tough times were riding in the 48°c heat of the Kazakhstan desert against a big head wind.
"I think the worst pain I suffered was from a bee sting to the face in the Ukraine..."
“We were struggling to do 8mph and drinking over 10 litres of water a day without going for a pee.”
But the experienced long-distance riders never contemplated failing to complete the challenge.
They had set off from Aylesham in June with three other riders, Carl Moses, Dave Austen, Cathel Bartello who cycled with them to Krakow in Poland with support vehicle driver Roger Hadfield.
But after that the three Houses were on their own.
“It has been an incredible journey which none of us will forget and we thank everyone who has sponsored our charities so generously.
“We will be flying home after the finals and definitely before November 14, which is my 60th birthday.”
To sponsor, click here.
More by this authorGerry Warren
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)