Saddle up to save your favourite charity

KM Big Bike Ride 2019 attracted 350 cyclists from across Kent and Medway. Photo by Encade.

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Charities in financial crisis have been offered a helping hand as organisers have confirmed not one but two major fundraising bike rides will take place this autumn.

Organised by independent charity the KM Charity Team to support its health and wellbeing work with schools, the KM Big Bike Rides can also help any good cause in need of a monetary boost.

A hefty 70 per cent of sponsorship raised by participants is sent to their named charities. The remainder covers event costs and contributes towards the KM Charity Team’s child literacy and green travel programmes.

Mike Ward, chief executive of the children’s charity, said: “Good causes are in desperate need right now, and our bike rides give them the chance to raise money at no cost to themselves.

“All they need to do is get their supporters to sign up and gather sponsorship.”

With most of this year’s charity challenge events cancelled – or modified to virtual status – the bike rides offer a rare experience for participants to enjoy.

Traditionally, the annual ride takes place on the last Sunday in April and kick-starts the sportive cycling season. But when lockdown was introduced in March the event was postponed.

And now booking is open for two KM Big Bike Ride events taking place at opposite ends of the county.

The first is a brand-new 100-mile (160K) challenge which starts from Cyclopark in Gravesend on September 27.

Two weeks later, on October 11, riders will head for Betteshanger Park near Deal to complete either a 50K or 100K challenge.

Mr Ward said: “We have kept a careful eye on government guidelines and will continue to do so to ensure everyone is safe.

“Check-in and start times will be staggered and social distancing measures will be in place.”

He added: “There are strict limits on ticket numbers so I’d recommend booking without delay.”

Riders can take part just for fun or to raise sponsorship for any charity of their choice from their local PTA to a major national cause.

The event generates thousands of pounds each year. Even in 2019, with Storm Hannah sweeping the UK, cyclists at the ride supported charities to the tune of £15,000 in sponsorship.

The ride is run by the KM Charity Team in partnership with windfarm operator Vattenfall and supported by South East 4×4 Response, Southern Co-op, S. E. Medical, Specsavers, and Herberts Cycles.

2020 marks the eighth year of green energy company Vattenfall’s association with the event to promote green travel and healthy living.

Cyclists’ times will be measured by electronic chip and action photographs taken during the ride will be available for free download.

On completion of the challenge each participant will collect a souvenir medal.

“Charities are in dire straits right now,” said Mr Ward. “It’s as simple as that. We hope that they and their communities will use our event to help fill the void in their funding.”

He added: “And after months of being stuck indoors I’m sure people are ready to enjoy a healthy and mood-boosting challenge.” Find out more at www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/booking

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