Phil Deeker, the mastermind behind the Cent Cols Challenge, this summer completed an incredible cycling feat – the Ride of a Thousand Cols, both to celebrate his 60th birthday and build on the support of The William Wates Memorial Trust, raised an incredible sum of money that will provide young people living in inner-city communities, access to Access Sport’s BMX Legacy Programme.

The Cent Cols Challenge has been described as the following:

We are not here to ‘win’, we are here to put ourselves (AT TIMES not ALL the time) up against the Wall of Perceived Terror and find resolve within ourselves to find a way through or over. The sense of freedom, self-confidence, and achievement are invaluable Life-Tools.

Certainly not an undertaking for the faint hearted. Times it by ten however and you have yourself the RIDE OF A THOUSAND COLS. In other words, Phil climbed 1000 mountains across Europe on his bicycle this summer, an adventure lasting 5 memorable months. On his journey Phil was joined by a number of cycling fanatics who each took on one of the ten stages, or Cent Col Challenges.

The sense of freedom, self-confidence and achievement mentioned when describing CCC are central to what Access Sport’s BMX Legacy Programme sets out to give young people living in deprived inner city communities through the exciting sport of BMX, with a view to improving their health and wellbeing, and ultimately helping them both realise and achieve their true potential.

Having spent many years of his life in the saddle, Phil understood exactly how powerful cycling can be, part of the reason that he felt so passionately about the importance of the BMX Legacy Programme in communities throughout London. It soon became Phil’s mission to not only complete the Ride of a Thousands Cols, but to raise an incredible £25,000 for the BMX Legacy Programme along the way…

Some days, cycling began at 7am and didn’t finish until past 22:00 at night. Day in day out, it was an extreme test of both physical and mental endurance.

At last I know how it feels to be reduced to snail-pace and am learning to really “Talk the Walk”: which means – keep SMILING, keep POSITIVE when things all seem to be converging on you to make you feel sorry for yourself!!!

Even on the darkest of days, Phil’s relentless positivity shone through!

On the odd occasion that Phil would have a rest day, he kept all of the team well-updated with reports about how he was getting on. To say these were an inspiring read would be an understatement, here are a few snippets…

  • “I train not to go faster but to suffer less”
  • “We share the same road but are all on different journeys”.
  • “By pushing ourselves to the limit of our physical endurance, we are stripping ourselves bare of all the futile obsessions of our “normal life”


After Phil passed the halfway mark, and each day grew tougher, some students from a local pupil referral unit in Hammersmith sent some words of encouragement to help Phil push through…

Not content with reaching his £25,000 target, Phil has so far raised over £30,000!

Phil’s friends, family and fellow riders showed amazing generosity; here are some of the wonderful initiatives Phil put in place to ensure he achieved his goal…

Coffee for Filipo
Throughout Phil’s journey, he did not take any caffeine products such as sports gels or the like. One luxury Phil would allow himself however, was a single espresso per day – sometimes with a slice of cake for the much needed energy! However, in order to keep the fundraising moving upward, he invited those following his journey to donate in order to keep him in caffeine! Only if his fundraising was on track would he allow himself his one dose of daily caffeine…!

UPHIL bespoke t-shirts
Just as Phil surpassed the incredible £14,000 mark, a friend and co-rider created an inspiring initiative to support Phil with his fundraising efforts, designing a bespoke UPHIL 1000 Gaminet t-shirt. 100% of the price of each t-shirt was donated directly to Phil’s fundraising page, and the buyer was simple asked to cover the cost of postage and packaging on top. Needless to say, the t-shirts sold out and this gave a huge boost to the incredible funds raised.

Raffle prize draw
Many generous donations were also received from the riders that joined Phil on his epic journey. All riders that donated or fundraised £100 or more have been entered into a prize draw coordinated by Phil for 2 lucky winners to receive either a pair of Noble Wheels top shelf CCC wheels or an Amaro Loren lightweight customised steel frame & forks.
On Wednesday Phil will fly over from his home in Belgium to visit the Access Sport Croydon BMX track and finally meet some of the young people engaged in the BMX Legacy Programme that he has supported with this incredible journey. The girls from Harris Academy South Norwood have the honour of drawing the raffle finalists who will be revealed the following evening at the event The Ride of 1000 Cols – Q&A with Phil Deeker.

The end of the Journey

What Phil has achieved is extraordinary, both as a feat of endurance and of the funds raised along the way. His journey and support will have a profound impact, helping to build a better future for young people in the BMX Legacy programme, and living as an example of redefining what is possible.

From everyone at Access Sport, thank you.

Find out more about Phil Deeker’s extraordinary challenge on the Rapha website or follow him on social media:

Phil's Instagram

Phil's Facebook