Saddle up for Joe

Latics players back the Joseph's Goal bike ride

Latics players back the Joseph's Goal bike ride

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WIGAN Athletic fans are being urged to get on their bikes for the second Joseph’s Goal ride to Blackpool.

Supporters are being asked to ditch the cars, coach and train and make their way to the game, which is heating up to be a survival six-pointer, on two wheels for the cause.

Last year cyclists raised well in excess of £2,000 as they left the Christopher Park training ground on the eve of the match before heading to Bloomfield Road along a flat route via Preston.

This year, they will leave the same venue on February 27 (the day before the 3pm fixture) with a special send-off from the players at around 10.30am.

Joseph’s Goal was set up by the Evening Post’s football correspondent Paul Kendrick in 2012 to raise money for research into NKH, a rare genetic disorder with which his son Joe was diagnosed at birth.

The youngster won the hearts of the world on May 11, 2013 when Wigan Athletic skipper Emmerson Boyce carried him onto the pitch at Wembley where he proved to be the lucky mascot as the club won the FA Cup.

Latics have taken Joe into their hearts with fans taking part in countless fundraisers, including the Wigan 10k, to raise money for the charity.

Paul said: “The bike ride to Blackpool last year was a fantastic day from start to finish. We had bikers of all ages, from absolute beginners to hardened cyclists, and there was a great team spirit as we made our way up to the Fylde coast.

“With plenty of refreshment breaks – for the odd latte as well as water – it contributed to a brilliant atmosphere.

“And when we made our way up Blackpool prom for the sprint finish it was the icing on the cake. We had people involved who’d never ridden more than a mile before, but we all made it to Blackpool and it was a fabulous feeling when we got there.

“We also raised a tremendous amount for Joseph’s Goal and the bike ride to Blackpool is now one of our most eagerly-awaited and best-supported events of the year.

“I’d urge anyone to get involved, as a great way of getting out and about, maybe even losing a few pounds, as well as raising much-needed funds for Joseph’s Goal.”

Any riders staying over for the game can take advantage of discount rates at local hotels, while special transport back from the game on the Saturday is also being arranged so bikes can be brought home.

For more information or to register, go to facebook.com/josephsgoal or @JosephsGoal on Twitter, or email paul.kendrick@jpress.co.uk