17 Apr Lockdown inspires cycling for Essex charity
Steve Sutton (44), founder, and tour leader of the Three Chesters Cycle Challenge has teamed up with the Essex based, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity in a bid to not only get more people cycling but to do it while supporting a worthy cause.
The Three Chesters Cycle Challenge came about when Steve took up cycling again during the Covid 19 lockdown, and in one of those moments of ‘craziness’ planned a route from Colchester to Manchester via Chesterfield. Having enjoyed cycling immensely, and particularly the route to Manchester from Colchester, he wants other people to share his experience.
‘I love cycling,’ says Steve, ‘and I’m passionate about encouraging others to get out on a bicycle. It’s not about getting from A to B as quickly as possible on two wheels. I am conscious that participants get the most out of the rides and pedal at a pace that suits them.’
Throughout January and February, Steve took groups of cyclists of varying abilities on 20-, 30- and 40-mile accompanied free cycle rides around the quieter lanes and backroads of North Essex and Suffolk. Each of the rides departed from and returned to the Northern Gateway Sports Centre.
There was no obligation for riders to join the extended 50-, 70- and 90-mile routes taking place from March to May or indeed the Three Chester’s Cycle Challenge. However, several cyclists eager to take part in the four-day, 260-mile trip from Colchester to Manchester, are using these longer rides as a training opportunity.
Keen cyclist, Caroline Foster (53) says, ‘over the last couple of years I have done a lot of cycling by myself because I don’t feel confident enough to keep up with other cyclists belonging to clubs in the area. Going out with Steve has encouraged me to cycle further and to try different routes, and now I’m ready for a new challenge. When I saw Steve’s social media post about the Three Chesters Challenge, and the longer training rides in the build-up to the June event, I thought, yes, I can do that. And, when I discovered I could raise money for an excellent charity while taking part in the ride, I jumped at the chance.’
The Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, founded in 1991, provides complementary therapies and counselling support for cancer patients with all types of cancer and at all stages, whether newly diagnosed or longer-term, throughout and after completion of treatment.
‘In just over twelve months I lost two uncles and an aunt to cancers, while my mum was also undergoing treatment for breast cancer,’ says Caroline, ‘organisations such as the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity provide invaluable support and services to people with cancer and their families, and this gives me a reason to support them while being able to do something I adore.’
In return for a pledge to raise a minimum of £1000 for HRCC, participants’ event fees will be paid.
Dates for the Essex and Suffolk guided rides, and information relating to the Three Chesters Cycle Challenge can be found at www.threechesterscyclechallenge.co.uk and on social media.