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Scots man diagnosed with MND to cycle North Coast 500 in just four days

Davy Zyw with his Mario Cipollini bike
Davy Zyw with his Mario Cipollini bike

A Scot living with motor neurone disease is aiming to cycle 500 miles in only four days to raise money for charity.

Author and wine specialist Davy Zyw, 32, who was diagnosed with the disease two years ago, will undertake the North Coast 500 challenge – which climbs the equivalent height of Mount Everest – with his twin brother, Tommy.

The physically demanding route will take the brothers from Inverness, through Applecross, Torridon, Ullapool, Durness, Caithness and Dingwall.

Davy and Tommy Zyw cycling in Patagonia, Febraury 2019

Typically explored by tourists from cars and campervans, the North Coast 500 is famed for its magnificent views and uncompromising landscape.

The feat – which was originally scheduled for May before being pushed back by Covid-19 restrictions – will raise vital funds for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the charity started by Scottish Rugby legend Doddie Weir who was diagnosed with MND in 2017.

The brothers’ cycle will raise money for further research into causes of the disease and potential cures, as well as providing grants to those who live with MND to enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible.

Davy training in the Highlands

Davy and Tommy have already raised more than £63,000 for the charity.

They have been endorsed by the world record holder for cycling round the world, Mark Beaumont, and explorer and former Special Forces Sergeant Jason Fox.

Davy also received a specially signed bike and helmet from cycling legends Mario Cipollini and Alessandro De Marchi.

Famed Scottish artist Kate Downie will create a limited-edition work of the Zyw brothers cycling across the Forth Road Bridge to help raise funds. T-shirts designed by London-based artist and interior designer Luke Edward Hall are also available.

The Scottish Gallery – where Tommy is a director – will host a series of online events in aid of the challenge.

The brothers wearing their charity T-shirts

Davy said: “As we head toward the two-year anniversary since my diagnosis, I want to help drive awareness of this life-shattering disease and do my bit to help find a cure when I still have power in my legs, lead in my pecker and enough grip in my hands to hold my handlebars.

“It’s been a difficult journey to get to today, where I have accepted my lot, and I am ready to share this with you all. Every pound we raise and every pedal we push will go towards finding a cure and raising awareness for people living with the disease. People like me.”

The twins will be accompanied by their younger brother Sorley and four friends,
including a Royal Marine commando.

They will be supported on the ride by their parents’ camper and a Royal Navy van.

MND degenerates muscles, stripping control and mobility. The active mind becomes trapped in a paralysed body. It is a life-threatening disease, with fifty percent of the people diagnosed with MND dying within two years.

Donate here.