A Lenzie teenager has reached new heights for charity by taking on the ride of his life — on a People Make Glasgow Bike.
Andy Caldwell (17) hired the city bike for 24 hours and set himself the challenge of riding to the top of the UK’s longest continuous hill climb at Applecross in Wester Ross.
The famous Bealach na Ba is a 626 metre ascent over 10km and at its steepest is a 20 per cent gradient.
The sixth-year pupil at Lenzie Academy made it to the top — and has raised almost £1,000 to help orphans in Malawi.
Andy is heading out to the southeastern African country in June to help with vital maintenance work in Namisu orphan village.
He will help paint classrooms in the local school, repair mosquito nets over the windows and carry out general maintenance work.
The money he has raised will be used to buy materials and pay local people to help with the work.
Andy said: “I had thought about cycling the West Highland Way non-stop but I then I decided I wanted to do something a bit different”.
Tackling the challenge on a mountain bike would have been tough, never mind a city bike with few gears.
He said: “The climb itself was very hard and took about an hour. Most of it was really steep and there were hairpin bends The views were spectacular though.
As the cycle was non-stop, Andy said he wanted to do this properly so he taped his feet to the pedals.
He added: “The pedals on the bike are also quite slippery so that was another reason. There were a few cars on the road and a couple of motorcyclists. Everyone was really friendly.”
Andy has paid for all his own expenses for his trip to Malawi and has been helped in his fundraising by his younger sister Katie (10) who has collected a further £500 by completing 1350 length of the swimming pool at Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre – the equivalent of swimming the Channel.
The family have strong connections with Malawi as 20 years ago, Andy’s great-uncle John Searle visited the country as a lay pastor. John set up the charity AquAid Lifeline Fund to raise money for the region and although now almost 80, he is still involved.