PEDAL power was in full gear at the weekend when cyclists took on the very first ‘Ride for Bikes Hilly Challenge’ to raise money for Heart of England Mencap.

Thirty cyclists took part in the event – a challenging 60km ride around Warwickshire and the Cotswolds – on Sunday (June 25th).

They have helped raise £1,000 for Heart of England Mencap, to extend its fleet of adapted bikes to allow local people with learning disabilities to enjoy the benefits of cycling too.

The event started and finished at Meon Vale Leisure Centre.

It was the first in what is now set to become an annual flagship fundraiser for the charity, supporting people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Fundraising Manager Cath Errington said: “We owe a huge thank you to everyone who supported this event, our sponsor Rosconn Group, and most importantly to all of those cyclists who took part.

“Thanks to them we have managed to raise £1,000, which to a small charity like ours, makes a very big difference. It will allow us to expand our fleet of adapted bikes and have a real impact on the people we support.”

As well as the 30 cyclists who completed the 60km on road, a team from Heart of England Mencap also completed 60km indoors, taking turns on a static bike, with Chief Executive Helena Wallis taking them over the line.

She said: “Cycling is something our customers get a huge amount of joy out of – but adapted bikes are very expensive and we are only a small charity.

“We are starting to build a small fleet of bikes thanks to previous fundraising, grants and donations –but we still need so much 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.

“The idea now is to expand Ride for Bikes so that our fundraising can continue, we had some really positive feedback on the event from those who took part and we’re very excited about its future.”

Ride for Bikes was generously sponsored by Rosconn Group and supported by ShoeMed and Personal Vitality.

Daniel O’Donnell, Rosconn Group’s Managing Director, said: “‘It’s been a privilege to sponsor this year’s Mencap Ride for Bikes Hilly Challenge and great to know that we’re helping to raise money to buy adapted bikes to enable local people with a learning disability to enjoy cycling too.”

Information on next year’s event will be announced soon, anyone interested in providing support or sponsorship is asked to call Cath on 01789 298709.