Pedal power for Joining Jack

Andy and Jack Johnson with a bike donated by a Paralympian which members of the Joining Jack team in the Wigan Bike Ride have the chance to win
Andy and Jack Johnson with a bike donated by a Paralympian which members of the Joining Jack team in the Wigan Bike Ride have the chance to win

Hundreds of people will get in the saddle this weekend to take part in the inaugural Wigan Bike Ride.

Fund-raisers for Joining Jack have previously taken part in other rides - but this year the charity has decided to organise its own.

It is hoped it will raise thousands of pounds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy and prove to be as successful as the Wigan 10k and Run Wigan Festival.

More than 600 people have signed up to take part in the two bike rides.

Registration is scheduled to close at midnight on Wednesday, but it may finish earlier if all places are taken.

Melanie Whitehead, fund-raising and events co-ordinator for Joining Jack, said: “It’s been amazing. The record number for a Joining Jack team in another bike ride was 503 so we have absolutely smashed it. We are delighted with the response.”

Cyclists taking part in the two bike rides will gather at Mesnes Park on Sunday.

Among those pulling on their cycling helmets are a team of rugby legends cycling for Joining Jack, including former Wigan Warriors player Andy Johnson, who was inspired by his nine-year-old son Jack to set up the charity.

The main ride will see hundreds of people cycle 50 miles, heading north through Coppull, Eccleston and Lostock Hall before heading back via Abbey Village, Belmont and Rivington.

There will be 90 signs on the route to direct cyclists along the open roads and three manned water stations.

They will set off from 9.30am to the sound of cowbells, similar to those used at the Tour de France.

Once the riders are on their way, the family bike ride will begin.

It will follow a five-mile route along closed roads on Woodhouse Lane to the DW Stadium and back to Mesnes Park.

People as young as five can take part in the family ride.

Everyone who completes the two rides will receive a medal and goody bag.

There will also be attractions at the park, including face painting, children’s rides, refreshments, Wigan Wheelers and bicycle maintenance advice from the Bike Doctor.

The winner of a raffle for a bike worth £1,350, donated by Paralympic athlete Darren Kenny, will be announced on the day.

To enter the bike rides or find out more, go to www.wiganbikeride.co.uk.