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A Team aims to cycle 1,000 miles in 24 hours for Plaza Cinema

3 years ago

A Team aims to cycle 1,000 miles in 24 hours for Plaza Cinema

A six-strong team of cyclists is aiming to cover 1,000 miles in just 24 hours to help keep the historic Plaza Cinema open.

Fundraisers Mark Ryan and Julie Lawson have organised a Bikeathon which will take place in the foyer and main screen of the Waterloo cinema.

Mark and fellow riders Maurice Daley, Brian Charleson, Michael Ho, Graeme Powell and Phil Robinson will get on their bikes in round-the-clock six-hour stints.

He has been involved in previous events to support the cinema and, with large-scale options limited because of virus restrictions, came up with the idea of a 24-hour cycle.

“I only bought a bike in 2018 but then I was part of a charity cycle from Paris to Liverpool, that was my first cycle experience, and the last couple of events I’ve done have been on the bike so I thought it made sense to get some lads together for this,” explains Mark.

“I sat with Martin and Julie in the Plaza and we worked out the logistics of how we could do it, so we made use of the cinema but didn’t interrupt any of the screenings.”

The three came up with a schedule which will see them setting up three road bikes attached to turbo trainers in the foyer to start the cycle at 11am on January 29.

“Then the idea is, once the last movie finishes on Friday night they’ll close up at about 11pm and we’ll move into the main screen, get locked in and carry on all night,” he says.

“We’ll keep going until 11am on Saturday morning when our finish will coincide with announcing the winners of a fundraising drawing competition which is happening across Sefton schools.”

37-year-old Mark, who will be cheered on by his wife and two daughters, says there are quite a few challenges ahead for the team – not least staying awake through the night.

“We’ll have three lads cycling every six hours – so three of us will be on for the first six hours, then the other will three jump on for the next six and we do that again until we get to the 24 hours.

“The most I’ve done on a bike in a day is just over nine hours, but that was with breaks – doing 12 hours over a 24-hour period we have to consider not just the time on the bike but the lack of rest and being awake for 24 hours.

“We could try and sleep, and if people want to grab a few hours then they can, but there’ll be probably too much going on and I’ll be live streaming it for anyone who wants to check and see how we’re doing.

“Plus there won’t be any beds in there, so I’m not sure how much sleep we’d get stretched out on the cinema seats with a cupholder as a pillow!”

Another issue is the relatively short time that all the riders will have to prepare for such a long distance – Paris was around 500 miles, so this time the total target mileage will be double that.

“We’d usually give ourselves six months to do something like this but we’ve got three, in winter, so the timing isn’t the best but we don’t have any option, the Plaza needs every penny it can get as soon as possible.

“So for the next few months we’re all jumping on our turbos for 3-4 hours a day and then in January we’ll start doing team Zoom sessions where we get to work alongside each other and put in 6-8 hour stints back-to-back over a couple of days so we’re preparing our bodies for so much time in the seat.”

With training underway, Mark says the team has already had great support for its efforts.

“Lee Butler is giving us an hour on his Twitch session on the Friday night so he’s going to be streaming the Plaza when he’s be playing classic 051 bangers which should help keep us going.

“And we’ve had an offer of food and drink over the 24 hours from Brian at Hampers deli on St John’s Road.

“People forget how important the food side of something like this is because not putting enough carbs and salts and water into cyclists is like not putting petrol and oil in your car when you’re going on a long journey.

“Brian’s going to provide us with enough pasta meals, jacket potatoes, waters and salt drinks to get us through the night and then when he opens up at 5.30am he’ll come back to refuel us which will hopefully see us through to the finish.”

To support the 24-hour 1,000-mile Bikeathon for the Plaza Cinema, go to:


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