CYCLISTS are being called on to saddle up and sign-up for a brand new charity bike ride happening this summer – to enable local people with learning disabilities to enjoy the thrill of riding too.

The Ride for Bikes 60km Hilly Challenge – in support of Heart of England Mencap – is happening on Sunday June 25th, pedalling off at 9am.

Starting and finishing at Meon Vale Leisure Centre, it will see cyclists taking on a 60km route through Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, including the challenging climbs of the Cotswold hills.

The event is fundraising for Heart of England Mencap – a local charity supporting more than 200 people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

All of the money raised will support the charity’s cycling project; funding adapted bikes to allow Mencap’s customers to enjoy riding too.

Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said: “Experiencing the thrill of cycling is something our customers get a huge amount of joy out of – but adapted bikes are very expensive.

“Our small fleet of bikes and trikes is growing thanks to previous fundraising, grants and donations – and in particular the proceeds of the 2016 Lions Raft Race, which raised a huge amount to support the project. But we still need funds to do even more; hand cycles for example enable people in wheelchairs but with strength in their arms to experience to joy of cycling. Side by side bikes allow workers to ride with a customer, meaning that even those who don’t have much physical strength can still benefit from the experience. We want to buy regular bikes as well, so that friends and family can join our customers for a fun day of cycling.

“We are now ever closer to realising our ultimate dream too – a dedicated track, with storage on site plus parking, toilets and refreshment facilities. Hopefully Ride for Bikes will get us there.”

The 60km Hilly Challenge is being generously sponsored by The Rosconn Group.

Daniel O’Donnell, Managing Director for The Rosconn Group, said: “We are privileged to be in a position to support local communities and improve local lives and this year we are again delighted to sponsor Heart of England Mencap in their quest to make a difference to the lives of local people with a learning disability.”

The ride is also being supported by Lisa Preston, who runs ShoeMed in The Minories in Stratford.

Lisa has been supporting Heart of England Mencap for a number of years, trialling a small Ride for Bikes last year to start the ball rolling ahead of this year’s big event, when it is hoped around 200 cyclists will take part.

“We are hugely grateful to The Rosconn Group and to ShoeMed – both great supporters of our charity,” Cath added.

“We are still looking for further sponsors as well – and of course for as many cyclists and possible to sign-up for the challenge.”

Registration for Rides for Bikes is open now – and costs £30 per cyclist, to include food and refreshments.

Those keen to get involved – but lacking the legs to take on the full 60km challenge – can still be part of the event too, with a fun, indoor static ride taking place on the day at Meon Vale.

For more information and to register please go to www.heartofenglandmencap.org.uk

If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please call Cath on 01789 298709.