Edinburgh bus drivers accept cycling challenge to raise guide dog funds

William White and Dougie Muir are in training for their mammoth bike ride. Picture: contributed
William White and Dougie Muir are in training for their mammoth bike ride. Picture: contributed
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They may be more used to bus lanes than cycle lanes – but that hasn’t stopped two Lothian Buses drivers from saddling up for a mammoth ride in the name of charity.

Dougie Muir, 58, and William White, 48, are set to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a bid to raise £10,000 for Guide Dogs Scotland.

The men aged 48 and 58 years, are currently riding around Edinburgh and the Lothians four times a week to improve their fitness in time for the mammoth journey. Picture; contributed

The men aged 48 and 58 years, are currently riding around Edinburgh and the Lothians four times a week to improve their fitness in time for the mammoth journey. Picture; contributed

For Dougie, from Gifford in East Lothian, it’s the perfect opportunity to give something back to a charity which has done so much to help his own family.

“My son Maxwell had a brain tumour when he was 11 which left him partially sighted, so he required the use of a guide dog for a while,” he said.

“When something like that happens, it really puts in perspective how important a guide dog can be to a partially-sighted person.

“They provide the kind of freedom and independence we take for granted and they wouldn’t get otherwise.

“I wanted to repay some of the support my family have had over the years and that’s why we’ve set our fundraising target so high.”

The pair are aiming to tackle the 940-mile route in just nine days, quite a bit longer than the numbers 4, 5 and 26 bus routes they tackle on a daily basis.

And although they’re looking forward to swapping their four-wheeled vehicles for the two-wheeled variety, they admit that the training has been tough.

“I’m excited to take on this challenge but it’s the biggest sporting event I’ve ever attempted,” said Willie, who is from Musselburgh.

“There’s still a fair way to go with the training and practice rides but I’m sure we’ll get there.”

Dougie added: “We’ve been doing 50, 60, 70-mile rides and we’ve got one lined up that’s around 80 miles, so it’s been rigorous to say the least.

“We’re getting closer to the 100 mile a day target that we need to reach and I’m confident we can do that.”

Guide dogs receive no government funding support and with costs for training a single dog throughout its working life exceeding £50,000, the charity relies on fundraisers to keep the service going.

A spokesperson from Guide Dogs Scotland said: “Dougie and Willie have set themselves an incredible fundraising challenge and we hope they get lots of support from friends, family and passengers.

“We wish them well and thank them both, and Lothian Buses, for their outstanding support.”

The pair are to set off from Cornwall on August 25 and Dougie is hoping the local community will rally round to help them reach their ambitious target.

He said: “It would be a dream come true to reach our goal and I’m hoping the communities we serve on our buses will get behind each of us and help make this extremely tough challenge worthwhile.”

To donate, head to Dougie and Willie’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/WilliamWhite1875