Registration is now open for Sue Ryder’s 35th annual Ride for Ryder – and keen cyclists from all over Gloucestershire are invited to saddle up and take on the challenge to raise money for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Taking place on Sunday 9 July 2023, the well-loved charity event will see participants cycle along a scenic Cotswold route of their choice.
From avid cyclists to those seeking a new challenge, there’s something for riders of all abilities and fitness levels, with routes varying in distance from 40, 60, 90, 130 and a whopping 160 kilometres.
The 160 kilometre route is brand-new for 2023, marking the event's 35th anniversary with a challenging ride for cyclists really looking to push themselves to the limit.
Starting and finishing at Dean Close School in Cheltenham, participants will get to whizz through quintessential Cotswold villages like Broadway and Guiting Power, soaking up spectacular countryside views along the way.
Refreshment stops and water stations are located on each route, too, with volunteers and marshals to cheer participants on.
Matt Reay, community fundraising manager at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: 'We are so excited for the return of Ride for Ryder in its coral anniversary year! It is such a highlight of our events calendar, and we know how much the local community and those from far and wide like to get involved!
'We rely hugely on fundraisers like this one so that we can provide more care to more people and be there for families when it matters most. We can’t wait to see everyone there!'
In 2022, Ride for Ryder saw 430 cyclists pedal for Sue Ryder. Among them was 61-year-old Chris Kirkham from Hucclecote, who has participated in five Ride for Ryder events so far.
He said: 'Some close friends first introduced me to the Ride for Ryder event and I have enjoyed them so much that this year will be the sixth time I have taken on the 130 kilometre route.
'No matter what the distance you do, there’s always someone you can ride with and chat to. No pace is too slow. Everyone at the start and finish is friendly and so supportive of what you do.
'The routes are well marked, well marshalled and lovely to cycle on. Despite some steep hills to climb, the longer routes take you through the beautiful Cotswold roads and at about five kilometres from the end you have the opportunity to cycle a loop up the hill to the hospice and be greeted by staff, residents and visitors. This is a highlight of the ride.'
Kirkham is fundraising in memory of his parents, who both passed away in the last three years and were cared for at home by the same Sue Ryder carer.
He explained: 'The comfort that gave our family was immeasurable. Sue Ryder provides the same kind of care they received and I hope that by raising money for the charity other people can experience such compassionate support too.'
Last year, the event raised over £43,500 for the charity which operates Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice – the only in-patient palliative care unit in Gloucestershire.
And in this milestone year, it’s hoped the fundraising efforts will top that, with every penny raised helping to fund the expert palliative care and bereavement support provided by the Sue Ryder nurses at Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Entry costs from £15 per rider. All entrants will receive a finisher’s medal and anyone who raises over £145 in sponsorship will get their own Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice cycling jersey to wear proudly on the day.
Interested riders can register online until Sunday 2 July 2023 via sueryder.org/rideforryder or simply turn up and ride on the day.