Cyclist’s 2,500-mile French adventure

David Barker getting ready for his big trip
David Barker getting ready for his big trip

An arthritic 66-year-old villager will be embarking on a six-week cycling tour of France before undergoing major knee surgery.

David Barker, from Watford village, near Daventry, will embark on the tour, featuring Tour de France landmarks, later this month.

He hopes to raise money for Arthritis Research UK and, as an arthritis sufferer, will be having knee-replacement surgery in August.

The keen sportsman said: “I used to run marathons, but cycling is easier on my joints and I might as well finish off the old knees before I get new ones.” Mr Barker will start on May 17 in Calais, cycle down the Atlantic coast towards the Spanish border, then across to the Mediterranean before tackling the Alps and heading back to Calais.

The route will involve a total climb of more than three times the height of Mount Everest.

Mr Barker said: “In preparation I’ve been cycling 200-300 miles a week and lost the same amount of weight as I will be carrying in gear. Some stages might get lonely but my wife, Moira, will fly out to visit halfway through.”

Mr Barker also thanked his Halfords in Daventry for specially preparing his Trek mountain bike for the 2,500-mile trip. People can support him at