On August 15, 69 cyclists participated in local children’s charity Ride High’s first ever Cycle Challenge. Between them they cycled 4,300 miles and managed to raise over £29,000 – an incredible achievement.
The cyclists’ efforts will directly help to change the lives of up to 25 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-19, 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 routes, 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 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 Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. 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 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-earned
Given this was the charity’s first Cycle Challenge the response to the event was fantastic. The charity is so grateful to everyone that embraced and supported the challenge – and the feedback received was so positive that they’re planning to make it an annual event. So, it’s time to get training and enter a team
James Farmbrough, RSM, said:
“Thanks for a really well organised and enjoyable event. Great route, supportive volunteers and a really special medal – I’ve had dozens of medals over the years but none as meaningful as this one!”
Ride High supports children whose challenging circumstances and traumas make everyday life a struggle. They use horses as a vehicle to help transform their lives. Horses are able to connect with the children in a way other more traditional interventions such as counselling often don’t. Many children won’t speak – but they’ll put their arms around a horse and whisper in its ear – and that’s where the transformation starts.
Over a period of three to 12 months they attend Ride High every week and the charity uses their connection with horses to engage them in a programme that supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
In addition to all the participants, the charity would like to give special thanks to the army of volunteers who supported the event on the day, and to sponsors Cawleys, Sysmex UK, Scotts of Thrapston, TruckEast, Marshall Amplification, RSM and All Things Business.
For more information about Ride High visit www.ridehigh.org.
Tickets are now available for the Charity Ball on Saturday January 29, 2022