On August 15th 69 riders cycled 4300 miles in local children’s charity Ride High’s first ever Cycle Challenge and managed to raise over £29,000 - an incredible achievement.
The cyclists’ efforts will directly help to change the lives of 14 of the most vulnerable children and young people in Milton Keynes, some of whom will be desperately unhappy, but will now have the opportunity to look forward to a positive future.
After months of uncertainty surrounding covid the event was perfectly timed and provided a positive focus and opportunity to bring people back together. Participants spent weeks - some even months preparing to cycle the charity’s 50 or 100-mile route, all motivated by the desire to get outside and improve their health and fitness, to socialise with friends and colleagues - and of course to raise vital funds for an important cause here in Milton Keynes.
This wasn’t a competitive event - it was deliberately designed as a team challenge to encourage members to work together to achieve something remarkable. The majority of participants registered as a team, but the charity also created guided groups led by experienced cyclists for individuals to join. They arranged training rides and online zoom sessions to help prepare and support participants on the lead-up to the event.
On the day, the cyclists started registering at The Ride High Equestrian Centre in Loughton as early as 6:30AM. Set on a beautiful 37-acre site it was the perfect location to start and finish the event. The 100-mile teams set off first with the 50-mile teams following behind. What started off as a drizzly grey day soon turned into glorious sunshine.
The routes for the challenge were diligently planned to circle through the local, picturesque villages and stunning countryside in the Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire areas. There were marshalled check-ins in the beautiful villages of Old Warden and Steppingley for teams to rest and refuel. 30 miles of road were shared between both routes so if you were out and about you may have seen a sea of cyclists in Ride High shirts travelling through incredible landscapes such as the Woburn Deer Park.
Whilst the cyclists were en-route, back at Ride High volunteers and eagerly awaiting guests were preparing for their return. Throughout the afternoon teams crossed the finish line to whooping and hollering and after so long apart, it was great to see them embracing and congratulating each other for their achievement. Every single participant completed the event and was presented with a very special medal decorated by Ride High members, volunteers and staff. They then proceeded to enjoy a well-earnt BBQ.
Given this was the charity’s first Cycle Challenge the response to the event was fantastic.
“We are so grateful to everyone that embraced and supported the challenge. Their efforts are going to make such a positive difference to many vulnerable young people in our community. We’re also very grateful to our sponsors Cawleys, Sysmex UK, Scotts of Thrapston, TruckEast, Marshall Amplification, RSM and All Things Business - without whom the event wouldn’t have been possible. We’re so delighted with the response and feedback to our first Cycle Challenge that we’re already planning for next year!” Olivia Sugdon, Ride High.
“Thanks for a really well organised and enjoyable event. Great route, supportive volunteers and a really special medal – I have had dozens of medals over the years but none as meaningful as this one!” James Farmbrough, RSM.
“Thank you for organising such a fantastic event. It’s so nice to get like-minded people together to raise money for a great cause. It should definitely become a permanent fixture on the fundraising calendar” Jerry Taylor, WSA - The Communications Agency.