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Dark Times Rides Towards Fighting Cancer

Dark Times is the brain child of 41 year old London based designer Jonathan Mangham and his close friend Alex, along with a number of other acquaintances from around the country who can’t resist the temptation to challenge themselves against some of Europe’s toughest hill climbs and cyclying events.


Jonathan started cycling in 2012 as a means of doing something less damaging to his knees than running. Six months after buying his first bike he found himself at the start line of London to Paris 24h, his first major ride. It was whilst training for this that the idea of Dark Times came about. During the last rest stop 120 miles into the Flat Out in the Fens Sportive a long silence was broke by one of Jonathan's friends muttering ‘Dark Times.’ The phase was then used to make a facebook group so that after London to Paris the group could keep in touch with one another, but it quickly grew into much more. From conversations in the group members have met up to do numerous extreme sportives and transcontinental events across the UK and the rest of Europe.


To help support the long days in saddle Jonathan decided to create a Dark Times Team car, at first a novelty, but now a highly integrated part of the Dark Times operation. The car also plays an important role for the efforts of ‘Dark Times’ highlighting the fact that Jonathan uses each event he undertakes to raise money for MacMillan and Cancer Research. This is something close to Jonathan’s heart as his mother currently battles cancer and has also spent a career working in cancer research. The other logos on the car highlight the support that all the riders have had from friends, family and other businesses that have offered them sponsorship.


Whilst participating in the numerous events Dark Times have undertaken Jonathan has been riding a Planet X RT-58;


‘I did the first London to Paris 24h on a cheap aluminium bike, and then decided to treat myself to something better, after signing up for the next London to Paris and London to Lands’ End last year. So I started speaking with Planet X in early 2014 about up-speccing up a Pro-Carbon, and after much thinking and no action, I eventually made the drive up to Sheffield at the end of March to see if that was what I wanted to go for. After a great customer experience in the store I settled on the RT58 with Ultegra 6800 and took delivery of it at the start of May.


My first ride on it was just the 3 miles back from the office, but my first impressions were “Wow! It’s so nice to ride!” and that really spurred me on. I genuinely found a new enthusiasm to get out on the bike that I hadn’t had on the old one. No word of a lie.


Six weeks later we rode London to Lands’ End 24hrs, 310 miles and 6200m of climbing, straight over Dartmoor in the dark, and 3 weeks later it was 284 miles from London to Paris in horrendous condiitions. Headwinds and rain most of the way, proper torrential rain at times, only 8 riders from around 300 actually make it under 24hrs, and again we missed it by an hour or so, mostly due to just trying to get warm and slightly drier at the rest stops instead of getting back on the bikes asap.


By the time I reached Paris I’d ridden nearly 1000 miles on my RT58 and it had performed faultlessly in all conditions imaginable. I love riding it, and I can’t say enough good things about it, and it gets a lot of attention when it’s sat in my local bike shop, Bike Boutique, who keep it in top shape for me.’


Looking ahead to the future the Dark Times team are about to undertake their biggest challenge to date, Le Tour du Mont Blanc. Billed as the toughest single stage high mountain event in the world the ride starts at 5.30am in France, starting with a ride up the Chamonix Valley and over in to Switzerland, then round in to Italy and through Aosta before heading back in to France to the finish where it all started earlier in the day. There are nine climbs in total, five of them Hors Categorie: Col du Champex (HC), Col du Grand St Bernard (HC), Col d Petit St Bernard (HC), Cormet du Roseland (HC), and Col des Saisies (HC).


If you would like to support Jonathan’s efforts in aid of Cancer Research and MacMillan you can do so here;

Or follow them on twitter here;


15 July 2015

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