AN author and wine expert from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) has completed a 265-mile cycling challenge for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, along with the rest of his team. 

Davy Zyw, 34, was diagnosed with the illness in 2018. 

Set up by former Scotland rugby player Doddie Weir, the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation dedicates itself to funding research and into finding effective treatment and a cure for MND.

Speaking to The National, Zyw said: “Even in the time since Doddie Weir started his charity in 2017, the conversation and our understanding of the disease has changed. 

“I wanted to be a part of that and raise as much awareness as possible.”

Zyw has published two books – one which focuses solely on champagne whilst the other looks at a variety of drinks. 

Davy Zyw from Edinburgh was part of a team helping to raise money for Doddie Weir's foundationThe High Five team at the finish line

The journey seen Zyw and his fellow cyclists tackle the High Five which is the nickname given to the five highest public roads in the United Kingdom. 

In total, the group cycled 265 miles across some of the toughest terrain in Scotland and climbed over 19,000 feet.

They started in Killin, made their way up to the Cairngorms and Inverness before eventually finishing at the Bealach near Pitlochry. 

Zyw continued: “Sometimes it was 30C so it was a tough climb. I have got the added challenge with my MND. 

“I’m a keen cyclist and my legs were grand but my upper body struggled. I had to take a breather near Inverness because I couldn’t hold myself up. 

“That was the toughest part of the ride.”

Zyw said he had done more than 2000 miles of preparation for the 20-hour challenge. 

He was joined by his twin brother Tommy, younger brother Sorley Richardson as well as friends Craig Paul, Dan Elswood, Malcolm Holwill, George Besant, Chris Asquith, Murray Buchan and Ryan Brennan. 

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He continued: “On a distance that long, you need to work as a team because everyone goes through stages where they struggle with those sort of distances so it’s important to keep energy levels high and make sure everyone is smiling when they can. 

“It was really important for everyone’s morale and energy to have a bit of banter. 

“Around the 200-mile mark we were in a bit of a hole emotionally but it was great to have the guys with us.”

The cyclists were grateful for the weather, with Zyw adding that not only was it sunny but that there was very little wind which was a big concern heading into the challenge. 

“The weather we got was epic, the road at Braemar was incredible. Challenging but incredible,” Zyw added. 

He continued: “The finishing line has to be the highlight. You can’t even believe the road is in the UK because it’s properly alpine. 

“In the early morning light it looked incredible.”

In a video earlier this week, Doddie Weir sent a message to Davy congratulating him on his challenge.

Weir said Davy was “unbelievable” and thanked everybody who was supporting the cause to try and find a cure for MND. 

Despite the intensity of the challenge he’s just been on, Zyw is keen to keep cycling.

In response, Zyw posted on his own social media: "Real heroes don't wear capes. Some wear tartan teddy bears!

"Doddie has changed how the world sees MND. And the money and awareness we will raise will help realise our shared vision. 

"A world without this b****** disease.

"Thanks for the well wishes big man."

Zyw added: “My darling supportive wife isn’t keen for me to go out so much over the next month because I’ve been married to the bike a bit.

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“I’d love to do more of Skye and parts of the islands. I think there’s a challenge around the Cairngorms which my brother has done a couple of times which is called the Highland Cathedral so we’re keen to give that a go.”

Since being diagnosed with MND, Davy has helped to raise £150,000 for Doddie Weir’s foundation with more than £50,000 already pledged to the High Five challenge. 

To donate, visit High Five’s Just Giving page HERE.