Saints coach to embark on epic cycle Trek

Pictures by Linda Dawson
Pictures by Linda Dawson

Northants Saints Director of Rugby, Jim Mallinder visited the Milton Keynes’ Trek Bicycle Store last week for a very important appointment: to find the perfect bike to help him survive this year’s L’Etape du Tour - the hardest challenge for any amateur cyclist.

For Jim Mallinder taking part in L’Etape has been a dream since he caught the cycling bug several years ago. L’Etape du Tour, held in France in July, follows one of the toughest stages of the professional Tour de France cyclists. But Jim will be in safe hands when selecting his new bike (a Trek Madone 6 Series) which will be provided fully customized by The Trek Bicycle Store in Milton Keynes. Store owner Gary Bird and his manager Dan Fox have both taken part in L’Etape and have the expertise to custom fit a Trek bike to help Jim survive the punishing Pyrenees mountains.

Jim Mallinder and his Northants Saints colleague Brian Facer will be cycling L’Etape du Tour in aid of local charity The Puzzle Centre, which provides education for pre-school children with communication and autism spectrum disorders. 

At his Bike Fit session at the Trek store Jim Mallinder said: “Taking on a challenge like L’Etape du Tour is a big personal goal but it means that little bit more when you are raising money on behalf of a cause like the Puzzle Centre which does so much good work on behalf of young children and their families. “

Jim Mallinder continues: “L’Etape will be a massive challenge for both myself and Brian. We are keen cyclists but obviously there is nothing in Northamptonshire that quite matches the mountains in the Pyrenees we’ll be climbing on 14th July. Dan and his team at the Trek Bicycle Store have been great, and today’s Bike Fit session has been fascinating. I can’t wait to get my new bike out on the road for some serious training.”

Trek Bicycle Store manager Dan Fox: “We are passionate about finding all our customers the perfect bike. Our Bike Fit service evaluates the customers’ flexibility, physical condition and cycling experience, we then use a static trainer to simulate various riding conditions. The customers’ position is continually measured and adjusted until the optimum setting is achieved. You don’t have to be cycling up mountains to use the service! Anyone who is interested in taking up cycling, or wants to improve their current bike should give us a call. Me and the guys at the store will be following Jim and Brian’s progress – we know how tough it is.”

The Trek Bicycle Store, which opened in Elder Gate in April 2011 is Trek’s first dedicated store in the UK. The store offers a wide range of bikes, clothing and accessories as well as an experienced team of staff.

Jim Mallinder and Brian Facer will be taking part in this year’s L’Etape du Tour on 14th July, which follows the route of one of the main Tour’s most difficult stages. The 197km cycle between Pau and Bagneres-de-Luchon features four grueling mountain climbs, including the mighty Col du Tourmalet, the highest road in the Central Pyrenees. To follow their progress visit