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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Cyclists ride flood-hit routes in West Cumbria

The sun shone on Sunday as around 1,000 cyclists of all ages took to the saddle for the third Jennings Rivers Ride.

Although occasional dark clouds and showers broke the summer sunshine, the weather was poles apart from the heavy rain and gales that forced the fund-raising event to be cancelled last September.

Organised by Cumbria Community Foundation and co-ordinated by Rather Be Cycling, the event featured four routes and took in many of the bridges affected by the 2009 floods.

The 75-mile big day out attracted 266 riders, who set off from Fitz Park in Keswick to head out to the Irish Sea at Workington and return over the Whinlatter, Newlands and Honister passes.

Another 238 cyclists tackled the 55-mile foundation flyer route, which included two trips over Whinlatter Pass and one over Newlands.

Those after a more sedate journey opted for the 38-mile community circuit, which saw 270 riders head to Cockermouth via Ouse Bridge and return over Lorton Bridge and Whinlatter Pass.

For younger cyclists, the 10-mile family ride, complete with treasure hunt, provided an opportunity to take part and have some fun, attracting more than 200 people.

All the rides had staggered starts, with tea, cake and family activities awaiting the riders on their return.

Graeme Hewer, 50, of Crown Street, Cockermouth, was the first cyclist to return to Fitz Park from the community circuit. He was evacuated from his home during the 2009 floods and was keen to support the foundation, which has helped many flood victims.

Graeme, who did the route in 2h 6m 30s, said: “When you see events like this supporting local things it’s good. I did it in 2012 too. I try to cycle a bit to keep fit.”

Deborah Goodwin, of Greysouthen, took on the community circuit with son Joe, 13, and Seb, 16, and Sol White, 14, also of the village.

She said: “It’s a bit of fun really. I do a lot of triathlons.”

Amanda McDonald, 52, of Helvellyn Street, Keswick, blamed a midlife crisis for persuading her husband Ross, 54, of children Sam, 21, and Tess, 19, to join her on the community circuit.

Jude Yoxall, 43, of Cockermouth, took on the family fun ride with husband Dave, 49, son Paddy, 10, daughter Livvi, eight, and friends Steve and Heather Sale, along with their sons Tom, 12, and Matthew, 10.

She said: “We’re supporting a local initiative that we believe in having lived in Cockermouth through the floods.”

Heather added: “I just love it. It’s a good community thing.”

For Simon Jackson, Keswick School headteacher, a double team effort by 20 pupils from years nine to 12 and six teachers took a turn for the worse when his chain broke on Whinlatter Pass.

He said: “My group, who had two other teachers with them, left me so I was trying desperately to catch up. Everyone’s really enjoyed it. Cycling is a really important part of school life.”

Olympic bronze medallist, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and former world champion cyclist Yvonne McGregor helped out at the family fun ride, which started and finished at the former railway station.

She said: “I have always been a grass roots type of athlete and it’s that old cliche of wanting to put something back into it. I enjoy being with the participants and seeing their joy and enthusiasm.”

Sponsored by Jennings, the event had routes supported by Nuclear Management Partners, NSG Environmental Ltd, Armstrong Watson and Cumberland Building Society.

Have your say

Great day out on the bike with hundreds of fellow cyclists, the organisers should be proud of themselves, plus we had good weather this year which makes a change!!! roll on next year.

Posted by tony on 2 June 2014 at 12:12

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