STUDLEY FC manager Paul Smith recently swapped pacing up and down pitches for pedals.

Mr Smith, who was joined by former Cadbury Athletic player Mike Vaughan, recently took part in this year’s Birmingham to Oxford annual bike ride.

The event, organised by Bike Events and which saw more than 500 cyclists take part, was set up to raise funds for two deserving air ambulance charities – Midlands Air Ambulance and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance

The 77 mile cycling challenge began at Solihull Six Form College then followed the beautiful country lanes across the Cotswold Hills to the finish at Oxpens Meadows.

Mr Smith said: “Some might say there is no better way to see the Oxfordshire Cotswolds than by bike. It is a fantastic cycling route with sweeping views, hidden valleys with shaded lanes, woods, stone walls and wildflowers - but they don’t tell you too much about the gruelling hills.

"However, with regular stops during the journey where you were able to reward yourself with well earned refreshments in local village pubs, the pain was somewhat softened."

Mr Vaughan added: ‘‘It’s fair to say that Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins or Mark Cavendish have much to worry about but it was a really enjoyable day, naturally finished off with a visit to the local pub to rehydrate."

The pair are now hoping to participate in the Birmingham Bikeathon, the largest charity cycle ride ever on September 21.