Wiganers saddle up for epic cycling challenge

Last years bike ride
Last years bike ride

Pedal power could help a charity reach a fund-raising milestone when a popular cycling challenge returns this month.

Organisers of the Wigan Bike Ride hope money collected at this year’s event will push the total raised for Joining Jack past £100,000.

It is one of the charity’s key fund-raisers, alongside Wigan 10k and Run Wigan Festival, to pay for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The third annual event will be held on Sunday, June 30, starting and finishing at Mesnes Park.

There will be two rides - one following a 50-mile route through Lancashire and a shorter five-mile ride for families, including children.

Melanie Whitehead, from Joining Jack, said: “It’s a brilliant day.

“From the charity taking part in other organised bike riders in the North West to two years ago when we had our first ride, we couldn’t have believed the response from not only people riding but those supporting us on the day.

“Last year it was fantastic to see so many of the same faces and hopefully this year they will be back and we’ll get some new faces.

“The family ride is brilliant. Mums and dads can ride for free with a registered child.”

The main ride used to follow the same route as the Ironman UK triathlon, but an alternative course used last year proved popular and will be used again.

The diversion, which had to be imposed due to moorland fires at Winter Hill last summer, takes cyclists through Parbold.

Melanie said: “We spoke to quite a few of the riders when they came back last year and the vast majority preferred that route.

“We have not got Sheep House Lane, which is quite popular.”

More than 300 people have signed up for the rides so far, with several rugby stars getting on their bikes to form a Joining Jack “legends” team.

Among them will be Steve Hampson, Mick Cassidy, Ewan Dowes, Wayne Godwin and the charity’s founder Andy Johnson, whose son Jack has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is the cause’s inspiration.

Dowes will donate a new Garmin Edge 530 cycling computer, through his firm Dowes Wealth Management, which can be won in a draw for any rider who raises at least £100 for Joining Jack.

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

There will also be a range of attractions at the park for both riders and their supporters, including a climbing wall, a bicycle which produces juice when pedalled, food stalls, Wigan Wheelers and a Joining Jack stand.

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