Riders sought for Cycle Chartres

On their way...the start of Cycle Chartres last year
On their way...the start of Cycle Chartres last year

RIDERS are sought for the ninth annual Cycle Chartres, due to take place over the early May bank holiday weekend.

Organised and managed by the fundraising committee of Chichester Harbour Rotary Club, it is a social, friendly weekend away, not a cycle race.

There are about 20 places available, suitable for anyone who can manage the 160-mile distance from Chichester to its twinned city of Chartres, spread over three days.

Martin Helyer, one of the organisers, said: “We have people of all shapes and sizes joining in. The youngest was 14, riding with his dad.

“It is not a serious ride. We take it at a steady pace and there are plenty of stops for refreshments.

“The event is now in its ninth year and has raised over £100,000 for good causes locally. Last year, we modernised the event with a Facebook page, website and attracted a younger group of riders.

“We are hoping that this year will be the first year we reach capacity of 50 riders.”

Now an annual tradition, the ride has run every year since 2007. Each year there are about 12 marshals, all volunteers from around Chichester.

Local companies sponsor the event each year, such as Panther Van Hire, which lends vehicles for the event, FRH, which provides a van each year, and City Cycles, which provides a mechanic for the weekend, who works wonders checking tyre pressures in the morning and re-spoking wheels by the roadside.

Martin added: “Last year, we raised more than £15,000. The event grows and improves each year.

“Proceeds only go to charities with local connections or small charities with local branches.

“Generally, riders form small groups of similar ability and spend the weekend gently cycling through the French countryside.

“There is a strong sense of camaraderie on event. All the logistics are taken care of, so people can relax and enjoy the cycling.”

The cyclists will be given a send off by Chichester mayor Peter Budge, outside Chichester Assembly Rooms, on Friday, April, 29, and are welcomed in Chartres with a civic reception at City Hall.

The event cost is £320, to cover ferry crossings, accomodation and some food, and the minimum sponsorship is £200.

Visit the website www.cycle-chartres.org for more information or check out the Cycle Chichester to Chartres Facebook page.

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