All systems go for long-awaited charity ride

Melanie Rogers from Vattenfall waves the chequered flag. Photo by Encade Photography.

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The long-awaited Kent and Medway (KM) Charity Team’s Big Bike Ride will take place on Sunday, October 11.

Postponed from its usual April slot, the ride has more than 300 participants signed up and is predicted to sell out. Money raised will support the charity’s child literacy and green travel work with schools along with a raft of other causes.

In fact a hefty 70 per cent of sponsorship raised by participants will support other charities of their choosing. These include each of this year’s KM Group Charities of the Year: Abigail’s Footsteps, Kent Association for the Blind, YMCA, Friends of Five Acre Wood special school, Citizen’s Advice Swale, Age UK Thanet, The Aspinall Foundation, and Martha Trust.

Mike Ward, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “It’s been a long and bumpy road and we are by no means unique in this situation. It is heartening to be able to help other causes generate income so desperately needed.”

On Sunday, pre-booked participants will head to Betteshanger Park near Deal and complete either a 50K or 100K circular route. Both options take cyclists through the east Kent countryside and, in the case of the longer route, along the Thanet coast too.

Mr Ward said: “The nature of cycling – outdoors and spaced apart – makes it an ideal activity to undertake while COVID-19 is still an issue.

“Added to this we have gone to great pains to ensure the event adheres to safety guidance issued by the Government and British Cycling.

“There will be staggered check-in times, hand sanitiser at key touch points, and social distancing. Numbers have been restricted to half our usual capacity and there will be no ‘on-the-day’ bookings.”

He added: “Anyone experiencing – or who has been in recent contact with someone exhibiting – coronavirus symptoms absolutely must stay at home.”

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.

Cyclists’ times will be measured by electronic chip and action photographs taken during the ride will be available for free download. Souvenir medals will be collected at the finish line.

Mr Ward said: “The knock-on effect of coronavirus is staggering: a whole calendar of fundraising events wiped out and, as people’s financial security becomes more uncertain, ever-dwindling income from every avenue.

“I’m so grateful to everyone taking part in the KM Big Bike Ride this weekend – thank you. Every penny counts.”


Follow #KMBigBikeRide and KM Charity Team via @inspireschools1 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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