THEY became the first father and son to row across the Atlantic together - but that was not a big enough challenge for Coniston’s Norman and James Beech.

Preparing to embark on an epic 1,350 mile bike ride around Ireland’s rugged coast, the determined duo, while raising cash for four seperate charities, are under no impressions that it will be smooth sailing.

With 75,500 feet of ascent, the equivalent of 2¾ Mount Everests, the self-proclaimed Beech Boys have just five days to complete the daunting challenge.

That, however, was not enough for the adventurous pair who will attempt to complete the race on a tandem bike - the first time anyone will try to do so in its six year history.

“Riding on a tandem requires a huge amount of communication,” said 54-year-old Norman, who is manager at the University of Birmingham’s Raymond Priestly outdoor education centre in Torver.

“You have to co-ordinate all the time. Although the pedals are connected, it is quite easy for one person to push at the wrong moment, or too hard.

“That can disrupt your rhythm. Both have to be synchronised and harmonious with each other’s efforts.”

On August 31, cyclists from all over the world will line up in Trim, County Meath, to take on the challenge.

The route travels past Newgrange, The Causeway Coast, Malin Head, The Cliffs of Moher, The Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head, the Garden County and back to Navan in County Meath.

The Beech Boys, supported by a team of seven family and friends, plan to travel around 275 miles every day.

They have set time slots where they hope to sleep in a Ford Transit van for around four hours, spread throughout the day, including two forty minute ‘cat naps’.

“James will be on the front acting as the pilot and is responsible for gear changes, braking and steering,” said Norman.

“I will be on the back providing the power and will help to regulate food and drink intake. We need to take on 60g of carbohydrate and 1/2 litre of water every hour - that gives you something to focus on.”

In 2009, Norman and James, now 23 and working in Sheffield, took on the world's toughest rowing race.

It involved rowing a 26 foot ocean rowing boat 3000 miles from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands to Antigua, in the Caribbean.

They were totally self sufficient for the duration of the crossing and at the time James was the youngest man to row an ocean, celebrating his 19th birthday mid ocean.

“In a way this will be more intense because you have got a massive amount to do in just five days,” said Norman.

“The ocean challenge was very much dictated by the weather and there are some simalarities with the race.

“Ireland is a bit like the Lakes and we may find we have to contend with a lot of rain and strong winds.

“This time we haven’t got the scope and time for much to go wrong. We have to be on top of all the permutations.”

The race will raise money for Circles of Influence, a prostrate, breast and child brain cancer charity, Tearfund, who work in international relief and development work, Links International, which supports sanitation and micro enterprise development in Africa and the Snowdrop Project, which supports victims of human trafficking.

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