Three hundred and fifty cyclists took on the KM Big Bike Ride on Sunday (April 28) and raised £15,000 for charity hours after Storm Hannah began to subside.
The storm, which last week saw gusts of up to 82mph sweep across the UK, finally began to ease on Saturday afternoon.
Riders countywide saddled up from 8am the following day to complete a 100K route or a 50K version, both starting from Betteshanger Park near Deal. Participants from sportive riders and cycle clubs to friends and families – including one couple on a tandem bike – rode for fun or to raise sponsorship for their chosen charity.
Medals and goody bags were collected at the finish line while electronic chip timing allowed riders to see if they’d achieved a personal best. Souvenir action photographs, which participants can download for free, were taken along the route.
Steve Gooding from Chartham said: “I’ve been riding this every year for the last ten years or so and it’s just part of the tradition – get the season started – and it’s just an awesome ride.”
Sarah Slowe, a trustee for Canterbury Housing Advice Centre, was part of a team raising funds to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. She said: “It costs about £23 an hour to support people and so we’re raising money to contribute towards that.”
The annual event was organised by the KM Charity Team in partnership with Vattenfall and supported by Eurostar, Benenden Hospital Trust, and Southern Cooperative. S.E. Medical provided first aid cover while Herberts Cycles organised the routes and signage and offered bike maintenance on the day.
Melanie Rogers of Vattenfall said: “We’ve had a wonderful day. This is our seventh year of sponsoring this event and every year it gets better and better. We have a small crowd from Vattenfall taking part with our new strip promoting our branding and our message that we want to see fossil-free living within the next generation.”
Simon Brooks from Benenden Hospital took part in the ride with colleague Annette Eva in aid of Porchlight.
He praised the event saying: “It just gets everybody out on their bikes and working together as a team and it helps with their fitness.”
Coordinator of the ride, Hannah Hawksworth of the KM Charity Team, was delighted by the turnout, saying: “It cements the ride as a major event on the county’s fundraising and sporting calendar.”
She added: “I would particularly like to thank Kent Coast Volunteering, South East 4×4 Response, Betteshanger Park Run, and Whitstable Rotary Club for helping us to organise those all-important volunteer marshals to help riders along the route.”
Businesses interested in supporting next year’s KM Big Bike Ride should contact Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0844 264 0291.