Sportive Boosts Teenage Cancer Charity


73 intrepid cyclists (twice as many as entered last year) braved some of the Yorkshire Dales’ most challenging ride conditions, including hills, wind and rain, to complete a 60-mile charity sportive in aid of Sky Betting & Gaming’s charity of the year, Teenage Cancer Trust.

Organised by a six-strong team from Ride 25, including masseuse Catilin Hampson, who was on hand at the pit stops to soothe any aches and pains, the race kicked off from Bolton Abbey’s Strid Wood tearooms, passing through Ilkley, Addingham, Otley, Denton, Askwith, Grassington, the much anticipated Greenhow Hill and Norwood.

Some of the most avid cyclists extended the challenge to include a round trip from Leeds, with one of the team, Lead Software Engineer, Stephen O’Neill, riding part of the 60 mile circuit on a foldable Brompton.

He explained “The chain on my Cannondale road bike snapped whilst riding out of Grassington towards Hebden as I was busy admiring a couple of A10 jets doing low-flying practice through the valley. Ride 25 tried to fix me at the side of the road, but they needed more tools, so I had the choice of riding a foldable Brompton commuter bike, or getting a lift to the next feed station. I took the Brompton and ended up riding it for 20 miles – over Greenhow and down to the lunch stop. The Brompton has just four gears compared to my bike’s usual 18 and has 16″ wheels. By the time I got to lunch, after some tough times, I felt part of me belonged on the Brompton and was almost disappointed to get on my newly repaired bike for the last 20 miles to the finish.”

Other riders took advantage of a shorter 30 mile route and the team stopped to refuel with a BBQ lunch at the Timble Inn, before completing the afternoon leg.

Heather Bowen, Regional Fundraising Manager for Teenage Cancer Trust, said “Over the past few months it has amazed and stunned me just how Sky Betting & Gaming employees have really got stuck in with their support of Teenage Cancer Trust.

This cycle ride was not for the faint-hearted and Yorkshire – although the prettiest of all counties – is by no means a flat route, so the endurance and sheer grit to get to the end really has to be applauded. How anyone taking part in the cycle challenge is reporting into work today is beyond me!

Sky Betting & Gaming staff are simply the best, we love their humour and their ‘get stuck in’ attitude, there are some interesting and quite gruelling sporting challenges coming up in the next few months and we just want to say to everyone …… hats off to everyone and thank you so much for supporting our work here in Yorkshire for teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer. Fabulous efforts all round!”

John Readman of Ride 25, said “Myself and the Ride 25 crew were super happy to support the annual Sky Betting & Gaming Cycling Challenge once again this year. The number of riders had doubled since last year’s challenge and there was a fabulous sense of camaraderie and team spirit throughout the day. The route took in some of the glorious Yorkshire countryside and was quite hilly at times – but everyone tackled it with steely determination and a smile on their face.”

Mark Strofton, an Engineering Manager at Sky Betting & Gaming even managed to incorporate some off-roading, adding “Just after Norwood, the road runs down next to Stainburn forest, so if you’re on a mountain bike as I was, there’s the option of doing an off-road trail descent and picking the road back up further down. My friends Ian and Rob kindly put me up the challenge, so I felt I shouldn’tmiss a chance to promote the advantages of riding sportives on mountain bikes.”

Principal Engineer Ian Thomas, adds “Because Mark had done the 60 miler on his mountain bike we thought he’d enjoy going down the single track. He was gone quite a while so we got a bit worried he’d crashed but he turned up safe and sound!”

The final amount raised during the year of support for Teenage Cancer Trust will be announced at a charity ball in October.


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