THE New Year has a big adventure in store for two North Devon mountain bikers. Chris Alloway, 21, and Paul Dove, 19, both from Barnstaple, will be hitting the pedals hard on May 1 when they set off from the town on a European Cycle and Climb Challenge tha

THE New Year has a big adventure in store for two North Devon mountain bikers.Chris Alloway, 21, and Paul Dove, 19, both from Barnstaple, will be hitting the pedals hard on May 1 when they set off from the town on a European Cycle and Climb Challenge that they hope will raise £10,000 for the North Devon Hospice.The intrepid duo plan to cycle across Devon to France, Spain, Portugal and into Italy before heading into the French Alps for a mid-summer summit attempt of the highest mountain in Western Europe, the 15,800ft Mount Blanc. The pair will then jump back on a bike to Germany, and cycle through Holland before returning to France and completing their epic journey back in the UK.Chris said that the idea for the challenge originally came from the lads' love of biking and adventure, and was being dedicated to his grandad Chaz Wood, who passed away just before Christmas."My grandfather was helped by the North Devon Hospice, and the whole family was supported as a result," Chris told the Gazette."We are doing it to raise money and awareness for the hospice as we feel they do such a great job and because their cause is something we admire."The duo estimate that the trip will take around four months to complete, during which time, they will be living in small tents.Although they are both experienced mountain bikers, they admit to being novices when it comes to climbing."We're on our bikes all the time and have cycled together for years but apart from Ben Nevis in Scotland last January, that's the only real climbing experience we've had," added Chris.They are currently being shown the ropes at the Mill Climbing Centre at South Molton, which has generously offered to talk the lads through the basics of climbing on its state-of-the-art facilities. The centre's Rock and Rapid shop is also helping them to get hold of the essential equipment they need to take on Europe's highest mountain. And Mill staff have even managed to use their contacts in Chamonix to provide guiding, acclimatisation training and accommodation for the 14-day Mont Blanc trek in July.Paul Russell of the Mill, said: "I think what Paul and Chris are doing is fantastic and we're delighted to be able to do what we can to help them complete the challenge."Paul and Chris have already organised a number of fund-raisers including a skate and BMX competition at South Molton skate park in October and an open mic night at the Thatch Inn, Croyde, last week. This Saturday, they have organised a charity gig at the Inn on the Square, in Barnstaple, featuring bands Severe Zero, Moving Targets, Hands Tied and Counterfeit Club. Tickets cost just £3.If you would like to sponsor Chris and Paul, you can do so at the event or online via their Just Giving site, www.justgiving.com/chrisalloway1