Three Rochdale dads plan epic bike ride in memory of friend

Date published: 20 February 2024

A group of “Saturday cyclists” from Rochdale will be taking on an epic challenge when they ride more than 1,000 miles across Europe in memory of a close friend who died following a heart attack.

Tim Knight, Tim Fairley and David Kennedy, all 56, are cycling from Hollingworth Lake near their home town of Littleborough to Lake Garda in Italy, calling their ride the “Lake to Lake Challenge”.

The three dads are raising funds for the British Heart Foundation and Springhill Hospice when they leave on their adventure in May.

The epic cycle ride is in memory of friend Simon Taylor, who died also aged 56 last year.

Tim Knight, who is married with two grown up children, said all four men had been friends since they met in the “pub years” of their youth.

“We used to all drink together in a local pub, a group of girls and a group of lads,” he said.

“It’s where I met my wife, she was one of my best friends, and Simon was also one of the group – although we all knew him as Ted because he was so short and cute, like a teddy bear”.

As well as knowing Simon from the pub, Tim said they both worked in similar jobs managing textile businesses in Rochdale and often met up in different places around the world when travelling with their work.

Tim said Simon had died very suddenly at home last August after suffering a heart attack. His wife Lisa and a passing off-duty policeman had given him CPR to try and save him but sadly he passed away.

“There was no warning at all, it was a huge shock for everyone,” said Tim. “He collapsed in the bathroom and hit his head but never recovered.

“It has been really tough for Simon’s wife Lisa and also for their six-year-old son Riley, but she’s had a lot of support, she’s got a good set of friends around her”.

Tim said a post mortem showed that Simon had blocked arteries, but to their knowledge there had been no warning he was about to have a heart attack.

Following Simon’s death, the three friends felt inspired to do something to raise money for charity and as keen amateur cyclists liked the idea of a long bike ride.


Simon Taylor
Simon Taylor


“We’d joked previously about the idea of cycling all the way to Italy one day and then after Simon passed I suggested doing it in his memory,” said Tim.

“The three of us have cycled together at weekends, we’re sort of ‘Saturday cyclists’ - 25 or 30 miles at a time, that’s our standard ride, nothing huge.

“And then all of a sudden we were starting to look at doing a 1,000 plus mile bike ride for the BHF as that was the charity chosen by Ted’s family at his funeral, plus a local hospice that David and Tim Fairley’s family have had use of, and that’s where we are now.”

Of the three men, all dads, only Tim Fairley had ever cycled more than 100 miles in one day. The route they have chosen means they will be doing at least this amount every day – for ten days.

Not only that, but the route takes them up some challenging mountain roads as they make their way across the Alps to Italy. However, as they live on the edge of the Pennines they have at least all had good practice cycling up steep hills.

“Although it will be a long ride, it’s not so much the mileage as getting past the mountain range that’s going to be the challenge as you can’t ride through tunnels on a bike,” said Tim.

“With us living by the Pennines we’re used to going up hills, although nothing quite on this scale – it's certainly going to be interesting”.

BHF fundraising manager for Cheshire and Greater Manchester East Leah Wood said she was sure Simon would have been very proud of his three friends.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a challenge but I am sure they will also enjoy the cycle ride,” she said.

“Hopefully they will be spurred on up those mountains knowing the money raised for the British Heart Foundation will go towards funding groundbreaking research, which could help save and improve millions of lives and outsmart heart disease for good.”

To support the three men, visit their fundraising page here.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online