Charity cycling event to return in 2014Following the success of last month’s Tour De Kent challenge, ride organiser Roger Maddams looks forward to the 2014 Event.
This is a ride to get in on. Tour de Kent 13 was the first time, but due to the success of it, TdK14 is already in the planning stage.
The idea for the event came from a casual conversation over a few drinks at a party. From “a couple of friends riding round some football grounds in Kent to raise a few quid for charity,” grew a ride that aimed to be as inclusive as possible, and not necessarily aimed at the hard-core sportive rider.
The ride had three options, all starting at Gillingham FC; a relatively gentle 15 mile ride to Sittingbourne FC along the back lanes around the Swale estuary, a full day 50 mile route through north Kent to Margate or “the lot”; a 200 mile, three day challenge visiting 20 football grounds in Kent with overnight stops at Margate & Maidstone.
One comment that summed up the Tour vibe was “this was the only long ride I’ve been on where I’ve put weight on.” Clubs such as Faversham Town, Herne Bay, Margate, Deal Town, Folkestone Invicta, Maidstone United, Tonbridge Angels, Dartford and Gillingham put on a great welcome for the riders.
An army of 30 volunteers provided refreshments, moved route flags, overnight bags and maintained the bonhomie from ground to ground. And pub lunch was arranged at the picturesque stop of the King Ethelbert Inn in Reculver at the start of the Viking Coastal Trail on day one.
There was a carnival-like start at Gillingham FC: BBC South East News, the Gillingham FC cheerleaders and the club mascot, Tommy T were on hand to wave the participants off.
Riders were treated to views of glorious Kentish scenery such as the Swale estuary, the hop fields, oast houses and cherry orchards between Teynham and Faversham, a climb up the White Cliffs to Dover Castle and a ride across the championship golf courses of Sandwich.
Everyone received a heroes’ welcome back at Gillingham FC on day three before reassembling for the After Ride Party at the club’s Blues Rock Café. 400 riders and guests enjoyed the hot meal, live music, DJ and raffle that raised £500 for Help for Heroes.
Over £60,000 was raised for the main ride charities of Take Heart Mercy Mission and C.R.Y. (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
Cyclosport website has the ride ranked at a 98.4% satisfaction level and comments such as:
Absolutely lovely - from the friendly and efficient organisation, the nice people at each feed stop, the friendliness of fellow riders, to the views across the water on the last 10 miles. Outstanding.
Brilliant ride, Brilliant weekend, everything about the Tour de Kent was amazing from start to finish, can't wait for next year!
Brilliant event - well organised, everyone was really friendly, lots and lots of food and very enjoyable. I'll be signing up for the TdK 2014.
I'll be back next year.