A triple gold-medal-winning Paralympian and a local tourism Chief Executive welcomed a team of charity cyclists to the Peak District and Derbyshire on Wednesday, May 28, as they prepared to take on some of its most famously steep roads.
Anthony Kappes MBE, who struck gold in tandem track events at the Beijing and London Paralympics and who is originally from Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s Chief Executive, David James, met four fundraisers from The Camping and Caravanning Club at Chatsworth, near Bakewell.
They welcomed them to the county and offered advice on how best to tackle their mountainous 53-mile route to Glossop.
Then, in the spirit of true partnership, David James jumped on his own bike to cycle with them between Hathersage and Castleton.
As well as Blue John Cavern, Chatsworth, Hathersage and Castleton, the cycle-campers took in Peveril Castle, Winnats Pass, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Hayfield.
The gruelling Derbyshire leg was the fourth stage in a six-day, 420-mile cycle-camp challenge undertaken as part of the celebrations around National Camping and Caravanning Week (26th May – 1st June), which is now into its 14th year and celebrates the nation’s love for camping and the great outdoors.
Club riders, Kimberley Keay, Richard Satterthwaite, Dylan Griffiths and Spencer Pettit, rode out of Wantage on Sunday 25th May, home of the first ever Club meeting back in 1901, and have spent the week cycling up the country taking in key cities and attractions as well as some of the most difficult stages of the Tour De France route, which arrives in the UK later this year. The team have been camping overnight at Club sites along the way.
Their final destination will be Scarborough on Friday 30th May where TV presenter, and the Club’s first female President, Julia Bradbury will ride with them over the finish line.
Making the journey even more difficult is the rider’s choice of traditional 1900’s cycling attire; they will be wearing heavy tweed jackets, bloomers and breeches typical of the kind sported by Club founder member, and avid cycle-camper, Thomas Hiram-Holding.
The riders are raising money for Sustrans, a leading UK charity which campaigns for alternative methods of transport including bike, foot and public transport.
Said David James, Chief Executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire: “As close working partners with The Camping and Caravanning Club, we are delighted that they chose the Peak District as part of this imaginative ‘Year of the Bike’ challenge.
“Their arrival is particularly timely as we speed ahead with our own Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling, which includes more than 100 events and activities for all ages and abilities – including key events such as the vintage cycle festival L’Eroica Britannia in June and the Tour de France’s Le Grand Départ in July – and runs till October.
“Cycling is a great way to appreciate and enjoy some of the area’s classic landscapes and attractions as part of a relaxing and revitalising short break. Along with the Club Challenge team, I enjoyed the opportunity to pedal through some of our finest scenery,” he added.
Anthony Kappes has years of experience cycling the hills and vales of Derbyshire. He said: “I grew up on the fringe of the Peak District, and discovered a sport that has given me a lot of pleasure over the years here. It’s an excellent place to cycle, on everything from relaxing trails and quiet roads to more demanding upland routes.
“I wish the Club luck with the remainder of their Challenge and hope they enjoyed cycling through our beautiful countryside,” he added.
Robert Louden MBE, the Club’s Director General, said: “Cycle-camping is a huge part of our heritage, so it seemed only fitting that in the ‘Year of the Bike’ we really set out to complete a challenge in memory of our founding member, Thomas Hiram-Holding.
“I know sections of the route are really tough, but I’m confident that our team of cycle-campers will be able to pull together and complete the course. Cycle-camping is very popular with Club members, it’s a fantastic way to explore the British countryside at minimal cost!” he added.
Further detailed information on the route and the Club Challenge team can be found on the Club’s new dedicated challenge website: www.clubchallenge2014.co.uk
And there are plenty of opportunities to support the Club’s Challenge Team by following them on its social media channels (www.facebook.com/thefriendlyclub, www.twitter.com/campandcaravan, www.youtube.com/thefriendlyclub and searching for the hashtag #needfortweed.
The Club is raising money for key partner, Sustrans which is the UK’s leading charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport. To support The Challenge, please click here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/campingandcaravanningclubchallenge
If you’re interested in taking on your own cycle-camping challenge, the Club and Sustrans have provided a Tour of Britain resource, which will allow you to plan your trip: http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites/tours-walks-trails/cycling-tour-britain/
Additionally, if you’d like to watch some of the world’s best cyclist’s ride through the UK for the start of the Tour in July, book a pitch with the Club: http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites/holiday-ideas/tour-de-france/