By Matt Badcock
Jon Parkin might be known for scoring goals but now the York City striker is swapping his shooting boots for cycling lycra to join the big Football to Amsterdam bike ride.
Parkin and his pals – former Preston team-mate Chris Brown and comedian Chris Brown, from the successful UndrTheCosh podcast – are teaming up with Prostate Cancer UK to take on the epic ride this summer.
The 140-mile two-day challenge will take them from Barnsley to the famous city in Holland along with thousands of other riders from across the country all aiming to raise money to fight the disease that kills one man every 45 minutes.
And Minstermen hitman Parkin is ready for the long haul. “They say you get the bug for bike riding so I’m hoping I do otherwise 18 months after retiring I won’t be able to tie my shoelaces,” he told The NLP.
“It will be a good craic. The final destination is the carrot isn’t it? A night out in Amsterdam after. It’s obviously for a fantastic cause and I’m sure we’ll be able to grind our way through it and everyone will help each other out. I don’t just mean us but everybody on the trip. I’m sure there will be points where we all struggle.
“It’s a bit like a pre-season where all the lads try to gee you up. I’ve never been at the front of anything in my life so it won’t be starting with a bike ride. But hopefully we’ll raise a few quid along the way.
While all three will be pedalling, Parkin and ex-strike partner Brown may combine forces – on a tandem!
“That’s all up to Chris Brown, to be honest,” Parkin said. “He thinks I’m not going to pull my weight! He also said after a few beers on the ferry over, under no circumstances is he going behind me because I do get a bit windy after a night out. I think he’s worried I’ll blow his fringe off!”
Parkin will hope to join the ride after a strong finish to the season following his reintroduction to the York squad under new boss Steve Watson, who took over from Sam Collins.
“It was one of them where I got frozen out under the last manager,” Parkin added. “That’s fair enough, it happens. But the new gaffer has got me back involved so hopefully I can play a part for the rest of the season.
For Brown, the former Sunderland, Doncaster and Blackburn Rovers striker, the ride is the perfect way to keep his fitness up post-playing career – but they’ve had a warning about the size of the task!
“That’s what I’ve struggled with since I stopped playing – having the motivation to do something,” he said. “But this has given us that. The first few times you go to the gym it’s always the hardest but I’ve got the bug. I’m doing morning spin classes and when the weather is a bit better I’ll be going out on the roads.
“I wasn’t too concerned about how hard it’s going to be but we met up with Viv Anderson last week and he just shook his head and said, ‘It’s harder than you’ll ever expect!’ Me and Jonny looked at each other to say, ‘Should we cancel!’ But we’ve come too far now.”
Along with comedian Chris ‘The Other One’ Brown, the trio’s podcast and YouTube videos – where they watch games at home or abroad – have been a huge hit, with former players like Brett Ormerod and Dean Windass sharing stories from their playing careers.
Parkin added: “It’s the guests that make it. Football now compared to what it used to be is totally different. They can’t do anything now without it being on social media and it’s all changed.
“We all get on really well, that helps, but we’re only as good as our guests and we’re picking the right ones at the minute.”
The UndrTheCosh lads will be taking part in Prostate Cancer UK’s Football to Amsterdam bike ride for the first time on June 7-9 , 2019.
Riders can receive £50 off the registration fee with the code COSH19. Visit https://prostatecanceruk.org/Amsterdam or email firstname.lastname@example.org or sponsor them at http://justgiving.com/fundraising/undrthecosh
Tagged Prostate Cancer UK