The Hunts Post launches charity cycle ride for Woodlands Cancer Centre

(From left to right) Cyclists Graham Temple, Tom Caldwell, from St Ives CC, and Richard Osler, from

(From left to right) Cyclists Graham Temple, Tom Caldwell, from St Ives CC, and Richard Osler, from St Neots CC. - Credit: Archant

The Hunts Post is calling on Huntingdonshire to get on Two Wheels for Woodlands and join our charity bike ride around the district.

We have teamed up with St Ives, St Neots and Peterborough cycling clubs, St Ives-based Wheels in Wheels Events and Urban&Civic to put on a charity ride to raise money for the Woodlands Cancer Centre’s expansion at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

Two Wheels for Woodlands, The Hunts Post’s charity ride takes place on June 29 – the Sunday before the elite cyclists competing in the Tour de France start the world-famous race in Britain.

But you do not need to be an elite cyclist to help us support the district’s cancer unit because we have a variety of routes and distances to provide the challenge you’re looking for. Or you can simply get out for a leisurely – and worthwhile – bike ride.

The routes start at a modest 10 miles and increase to 30 miles and 60 miles.

And then there’s the 100-mile route, which is not for the faint-hearted. This route has been designed to take the riders on a tour of the old county of Huntingdonshire.

It will start and finish – as will all the distances – at Alconbury Weald and take roads around the edge of the old county border through St Neots and St Ives and north of Ramsey.

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The lesser distances have been designed for families and for those who do not want to spend the whole day on a bike!

But we are hoping to get residents to stretch themselves to raise vital money that will go directly into building the extension at the Woodlands Cancer Centre – and, in turn, help more Huntingdonshire patients get treatment in their fight against cancer.

The ride will form one of the centrepieces of a month-long cycling festival being organised by Huntingdonshire District Council, which is also supporting the event, aimed to get more people back in the saddle.

Tom Caldwell, from St Ives Cycling Club and organiser of the professional cyclists’ Circuit of the Fens event, said: “Cycling has never really been promoted in a cohesive way in Huntingdonshire.

“The Hunts Cycling Festival is a great initiative and I want to support and encourage it in any way possible.

“Recently, cycling has undergone extraordinary growth and this, coupled with the Tour De France visiting the area, gives a golden opportunity to take the activity and sport forward in this region.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from organising events and I love the idea of a sportive that supports such a worthwhile cause.”

Karen Pryor, administration manager at Woodlands, said: “Last year, I did the London to Cambridge bike ride which is 70 miles. Cycling 100 miles is going to be very hard and we really appreciate anyone who is doing this for us.”

Andy Veale, Editor of The Hunts Post, said: “We’re hopeful that Two Wheels for Woodlands will be a major fundraiser for the cancer centre’s £800,000 extension appeal.

“The Hunts Post has been supporting the staff at Woodlands, who are doing the majority of the fundraising off their own backs, since the beginning but we decided we also needed to get on our bikes with some fundraising of our own.

“The event we have created – with a lot of input from the fantastic experts from the local cycling clubs – is suitable for all abilities, including those who want to set themselves a challenge and a fundraising target.

“We are grateful to Urban&Civic for allowing us to use its land at Alconbury Weald, but we would like to hear from other companies keen to sponsor this ride – the more sponsors we have, the more money we can donate to Woodlands.”

Richard Ostler, St Neots Cycling Club Chairman said: “The routes start from Alconbury Airfield, which sits on the higher ground bordering the Fens stretching away to the north, a vast plain of headwind pain for the suffering cyclist, but don’t worry, while it may not be alpine, Huntingdonshire isn’t all flat Fenland riding. The 100-mile route heads into the gently rolling countryside of West Huntingdonshire where you can expect panoramic views of Kimbolton Castle, very quiet country lanes and some climbs. From Kimbolton, the route heads along the Bedfordshire border to St Neots where you cross the River Great Ouse via the traffic free Willow Bridge. A few lumps around the Gransdens shouldn’t cause any problems, but they will be the last gradients for a while as the route turns north. The roads start to level out and as you cross the old stone bridge into St Ives you’re into the Fens. From St Ives the route meanders along Fen droves to Ramsey. There may not be any hills to challenge the legs, but there will be wind, and in the Fens, at some point it will be against you! With luck there will be a tail wind to speed you through the wild fields of the Great Fen and passed the drunken telegraph poles lining the road to Holme. Holme takes you across the A1 and to the biggest climb of the ride. On paper, it may not look much, but after flat Fen miles the legs will feel it! The last miles are spent back in West Huntingdonshire, exploring its beautiful countryside along some of the best cycling roads in the area. There is a brief dip back into the Fens before the final climb - boasting a 10% gradient sign! - back to Alconbury.”