Professional cyclists from six teams joined more than 70 avid cyclists of all ages and abilities on a ride through the Lincolnshire Wolds last month.
JLT Condor rider Graham Briggs and his former teammate Dean Downing were joined by Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), Tom Stewart (ONE Pro Cycling), Annie Simpson (DROPS), Tom Mazzone (Metaltec-Kuota) and Jake Womersley (Bike Channel Canyon) for the 2017 Big Ride with the Pros on October 14.
The seven professionals, who have all received support from St Hugh’s Hospital in Grimsby at some point in their career, were split among four groups as they travelled from St Hugh’s Hospital through Waltham and East Ravendale, past Swinhope, over to Ludborough and then through Tetney on the way back to Grimsby.
Fresh from the Tour of Britain, Graham Briggs, from JLT Condor, said: “I’ve been involved in these rides for five or six years and it’s great to get out with the locals and get people on bikes.”
The three 53km rides and the shorter 30km route were organised by Dave Evans from NEL Lindsey Go-Ride, Dean Downing, Cycling Ambassador for HMT and Gary Allington, Health Promotion Officer at HMT St Hugh’s Hospital.
Gary said: “It was great to welcome back so many cyclists to our Big Ride with the Pros which is our third cycling event of 2017.
“Events like this provide an opportunity for people to take part in their first group rides, improve their skills or push themselves to cover a longer distance while being encouraged by professional athletes.
“To have so many professionals with us is a testament to their commitment to giving something back. We’re proud to have helped them with treatments and therapies after accidents and through our sponsorship of JLT Condor and training initiatives.
“In addition to our ride with the professionals, we invited Dave Evans from NEL Lindsey Go-Ride to host a session for 10 younger riders in the hospital car park.”
NEL Lindsey Go-Ride, the younger rider section of the Lindsey Roads Cycling Club, is a session-based training programme which helps children improve their cycling skills and boosts their confidence.
Supporting Dave Evans during the training session was Joe Laverick from the HMT Junior Academy. Joe, a graduate of the NEL Lindsey Go-Ride programme, is now a junior athlete competing in the British Cycling National Junior Series and on the European stage thanks to the support of the academy.
Dave said: “The young riders had a great morning at St Hugh’s, testing their skills against a number of obstacles including holding a water bottle while cycling, turning slowly in a small space, cycling safely under a limbo pole and dismounting quickly.
“They also had chance to have their photographs taken with the pros and even sat in the HMT team car after the ride, which was especially exciting. I’m sure opportunities such as these will encourage the youngsters to keep up with their training.”
For more information about the Ride with the Pros sessions, or to get involved in the activities supported by HMT St Hugh’s, visit http://hmthospitals.org/st-hughs/community.