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Passion for pedalling sets new record!

C4C 4 C4C 7 (Jen Blake and Liz) C4C 6 (Sam sees them off)

Northamptonshire’s favourite annual fundraising bike ride has ridden the crest of the cycling wave by setting another new record for those leaping into their saddles!

Cycle 4 Cynthia, which raises money for Cynthia Spencer Hospice and the Northampton charity Kidsaid, supporting youngsters who have suffered bereavement, bullying, abuse or family issues, saw over 1300 riders gather at Lamport Hall on Sunday (21st September) – a twenty per cent increase on the record set last year.

Among those new to both the event and the sport was the ride’s celebrity starter, Northampton Saints’ back row forward Sam Dickinson. Sadly unable to play rugby at the moment owing to a neck injury, Sam has found cycling a great way to keep up his fitness and before firing the starting hooter, told riders that he was looking forward to putting his new bike through its paces; “I feel privileged to be here to represent the Saints today and to keep up a longstanding tradition between the club and this amazing event,” Sam explained to the lycra-clad throng as they saddled up to take on the 5, 25 and 50 mile routes.

“I’m just so impressed to see so many of you of all ages turn out in support of these two wonderful causes and, even though I’ve only been cycling for a few months, I can’t wait to get out onto the course and hopefully catch some of you up!” he said.

Also cycling C4C for the first time was John Walters from Rushden who quickly found a new friend en route “I had no expectations coming into the event but I thought it was absolutely fantastic!” said John.

“Part way in, I met up with a Russian guy called Alex and because we were a similar pace, we took it in turns to take the wind and crossed the line together. It felt like it was my own Tour de France!” he grinned.

Others taking part were three generations of the Lewis family from Yelvertoft, including 69-year-old grandfather Terry, who was riding his ninth C4C, his son Martin and grandson Harry, aged 13, both riding for the third time, and their new recruit, Harry’s brother George, aged 11; “Yet again we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and knowing that we’re supporting such good causes is an added bonus” explained Terry. “My grandsons have already pledged to bring some friends along to ride next year!”

Meanwhile, also keeping it a family affair were Liz Bates from Northampton, her daughter Jen and ten-year-old granddaughter Blake who regularly ride together at the weekends; “We did the five mile route – three times!” revealed Liz after the trio crossed under the finishing arch “Blake has raised an incredible £280 and she says if she practises enough, she may even do the 25-mile route next year. I’m so proud of her!” added Liz.

Speaking on behalf of both charities, the hospice’s fundraising manager John Helm offered his appreciation to all those who’d turned out; “The feedback we’ve had from the cyclists has been fabulous and in such glorious sunshine it seems that people have really enjoyed the new setting and the amazing views across this part of the county.

“So we just want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved, including Lamport Hall for hosting us, our teams of marshals and volunteers, and especially to all 1309 riders themselves who have helped to create another memorable day” said John.

It will be some before it is known if the 2013 total of £52,000 has been bettered but for now, riders are kindly encouraged to collect their sponsorship money as quickly as possible and deliver or send it to Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Manfield Campus, Kettering Road, Northampton NN3 6NP, making cheques payable to ‘Cycle 4 Cynthia’.

Photos from the event will be on the website shortly – www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk Meanwhile to pledge your sponsorship or support for next year’s ride, please call the hospice on 01604 678088.