Chance to sign up for the Wigan Bike Ride on the day

Jack Johnson at last year's Wigan Bike Ride
Jack Johnson at last year's Wigan Bike Ride

The plucky schoolboy who inspired his parents to set up a charity in his name will support cyclists taking part in this weekend’s Wigan Bike Ride.

Eleven-year-old Jack Johnson cannot ride a bike as he has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable muscle-wasting disease.

So instead he will hand out drinks and give plenty of high fives to cyclists as they pass the first feeding station on the course.

The youngster likes to get involved with events organised by Joining Jack, the charity set up by his parents Andy and Alex Johnson to raise money for research into the condition.

Last year he was able to take part in the family ride, sitting in a tagalong pulled by former Wigan Warriors star Josh Charnley.

Sunday’s event will be a real family affair, as Jack will be joined at the station by his grandparents, while his parents will take part in the main 50-mile ride and his younger brother James and two cousins will do the family ride.

Hundreds of people have signed up to take part in the two rides, including a team of rugby league legends participating for Joining Jack.

Online registration closed at midnight on Thursday, but organisers have now announced entries will be available on the day between 8am and 9am.

They cost £15 for the family ride and £25 for the main ride and must be paid in cash.

Melanie Whitehead, from Joining Jack, said: “If you haven’t signed up, don’t worry, you can come along and register on the day.

"The forecast is really good. It’s going to be busy with plenty going on in the park.

“It will be a great family day, so come along and either ride with everybody or come and support us. It will be another terrific event.”

The third annual event will be based at Mesnes Park, where a host of attractions will be on offer, including a climbing wall, a bicycle which produces juice when pedalled, food stalls, Wigan Wheelers and a Joining Jack stand.

It is expected to be an emotional day, as members of Wigan-based Invictus Triathlon Club will gather at the start line to pay tribute to their friend and club mate Jay Markland.

The father of two took part in last year’s ride and was training for the Ironman UK triathlon when he died suddenly in February, aged 46.

The main ride sets off at 9.30am and follows a circular route through Lancashire on open roads.

It used to follow the same route as Ironman UK, but an alternative course used last year due to the moorland fires at Winter Hill proved popular and will be used again. It will include Parbold Hill rather than Sheep House Lane.

The family ride starts at 9.45am and will head to the DW Stadium and back. Signs erected on the route say the roads will be closed between 8.30am and 12.30pm, but organisers say they could reopen before then.

Medals and goody bags will be presented to the cyclists when they cross the finish line at Mesnes Park.

To find out more about the event, go to www.wiganbikeride.co.uk.