Tuesday, 21 September 2021

600 cyclists got 'On Your Bike'

SIX hundred cyclists took part in the ninth annual On Your Bike challenge in Sonning Common

SIX hundred cyclists took part in the ninth annual On Your Bike challenge in Sonning Common.

They set off from the village primary school on Sunday and rode either six, 12 or 20 miles to raise money for good causes.

Click here to see more photographs of those who took part.

They followed a circular route around Wyfold and Gallowstree Common, with the longer loop travelling as far as Nuffield and Ipsden before returning.

About half of them rode 12 miles while a quarter cycled for 20 and the rest for six.

Meanwhile, toddlers could complete laps of a short course laid out in cones on the school playground.

This year?s event raised almost £4,000, half of which will go towards a new children?s orthopaedic unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. The remainder will help to buy new equipment for the primary school.

Riders left in groups shortly after 10.30am and started arriving at the finish line about an hour later.

Among the youngest were Ben Lawrence and Odette Lewis, both four and pupils at Sonning Common Pre-School, who completed the six-mile course with their families.
Charlie Billington, also four and a pupil at Kidmore End Pre-School, cycled 12 miles with his mother Nicole, father David and brother George, who sat on the back of Mr Billington?s bike.

Mrs Billington said: ?This was the first time we?d taken part. We decided to have a go as one of our neighbours is a marshal.

?Charlie really loved it and wasn?t even tired at the end ? he came home and spent the whole afternoon outside on the trampoline.?

Felix Hampton, nine, and his father Steve, from Sonning Common, cycled 20 miles.

Felix, whose mother Nikki helps to organise On Your Bike, first rode the six-mile route when he was four and has previously finished the 12-mile route three times.

He said: ?It was a really long ride. It took three hours and I?m quite tired but I?m really glad I did it.?

Penny Snowden, who founded the event, took part for the first time.

She said: ?I loved being able to cycle with my family this year and enjoy the ride from a different perspective.

?I?m chuffed to bits that this event continues onwards and upwards and that it always attracts a new set of participants who are as enthusiastic as those who have cycled for years.?

Before the start Gary Wilson, from Stoke Row, and his daughter Charlotte, nine, were presented with a £300 voucher to spend at AW Cycles in Caversham.

They won it in a prize draw that was open to anyone who registered for the challenge before April 12.

?It?s a brilliant prize,? said Mr Wilson. ?I think Charlotte and I are going to be arguing over who gets to spend it!?

On Your Bike is organised by the school and its parent-teacher association in partnership with Sonning Common Health Centre.

It has now raised more than £30,000 for various charities since it was launched in 2007. This year?s attendance was higher than last year?s, when about 520 people took part.

Organiser Tina Micallef said: ?We?re often a bit anxious in the days running up to the event, wondering about the weather and how many people will turn up, but by 10am the playground was full as usual and buzzing with excitement.

?It reminds all of us, both the riders and the volunteers who help us run On Your Bike, what a brilliant community we live in.

?It?s a wonderful event that attracts everybody from tiny children through to grandparents. It brings families together with friends and neighbours. It?s a great achievement for a child to come back and think, ?wow, I?ve just cycled that many miles?.

?They cheer each other on along the way and enjoy the countryside. That?s very important because it builds their confidence.

?Although we?re very pleased to be raising money for charity, our main aim is to put on a fun family event.

?It?s not just an event for Sonning Common any more we?re pulling in more and more people from the wider area.

?Next year will be our tenth anniversary and we?re definitely thinking about whether we can do anything special to celebrate it.?

On Your Bike is sponsored by Higgs Group, publishers of the Henley Standard, estate agent Beville, AW Cycles of Caversham, baby food manufacturer Ella?s Kitchen, of Rotherfield Greys, software firm Halarose, Peppard Building Supplies and Jennings butchers of Caversham.

Emmer Green food wholesaler Dudmans of Berkshire, VAG Autoworks, Borg 4x4, Phoenix Land Rover Club, the Co-operative Food of Sonning Common, Reflex Chiropractic of Caversham and Sonning Common Parish Council are also sponsors.

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