The Bike to Bestival cycle ride raised a whopping £16k for The Bristol Bike Project and mental health charity CALM this summer, with £3,604 going directly to The Bristol Bike Project. There’s no doubt that donors and fundraisers are more motivated to support a cause when they can see the positive impact of their donations, so the Bristol participants began their race directly from the bike workshop in Stokes Croft to allow them to see first-hand the benefit of their fundraising.
Before the ride began, the 18 cyclists were given bike inspections by volunteers at The Bristol Bike Project to make sure their equipment was up to task. A mix of volunteers, marshals, pro-cyclists, average commuters, a camera crew and a support vehicle rolled out on the gruelling 100m cycle ride at 12pm on Wednesday, fuelled by locally produced coffee and breakfast from nearby Door & Rivet.
It was this mix of abilities and personalities that made the Bristol cycle ride a friendly and community-minded event. This team alone comprised of a postman, an engineer, a group of swing dancers and tyre salesman, riding side by side. The ‘everyone welcome’ ethos of The Bristol Bike Project infiltrated the ride, with much encouragement and laughter among the cyclists regardless of ability. Several of the riders were nervous about an extended distance on open roads, so each marshal was allocated a small group of cyclists to fully chaperone at all times. Every marshal was an experienced bike mechanic, ensuring that a safe pair of hands was always available during mechanical faults.
The first day saw the team wind through 50 miles of hilly B roads of Bristol, Wells, and Frome before finally coming to rest at the peaceful and remote Kingsettle campsite. Here they enjoyed a friendly communal dinner and well-earned £2.50 pints of ale in the local pub.
A safe and incident-free first day boosted the confidence of all of the riders, which meant the second day of the bike ride was all about enjoying the scenery. The carefully-planned, 40 mile route took cyclists through the National Trust gardens of Stourhead, past King Alfred’s Tower, before rolling past Durdle Door and down towards the shimmering Lulworth Cove for a cooling dip in the sea and a well-deserved ice cream.
The final leg of their trip took them to the gates of Bestival, where they received a medal, a free ticket, a luxury shower wristband, secure bike storage and access to VIP camping. After such a gruelling but good-natured journey together, the majority of the team opted to spend the festival together, culminating in an authentic, camp stove-cooked Italian meal prepared for the entire team by one of the riders.
Many of the riders reunited at The Bristol Bike Project’s annual BBQ last weekend, and in the true community spirit of the organisation some of the participants have since become involved in a skills swap, trading cycling advice for indoor climbing and swing dancing tips.
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