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On Sunday 19th September over 800 riders took part in the 2021 Tour de Vale charity bike ride in support of WheelPower. The annual event attracted riders of all abilities and ages, local families, corporate teams and local cycling clubs to Stoke Mandeville Stadium as riders set off on one of three routes.
One such group was the Winslow Wheelers Cycling Club from Buckinghamshire. 15 members signed up to the Tour de Vale with half doing taking on the 70km route and the other half setting their sights on the longest route, 115km! For many this was the first experience of the Tour de Vale and they were very much looking forward to joining everyone for a ride around the beautiful English countryside.
During the pandemic many more people discovered the benefits of cycling to maintain their physical fitness and support their mental wellbeing.
Club spokeswoman Francine van Leeuwen said: “The WWCC was set up in July 2020 in the middle of Covid and is sponsored by local communications company TalkOne. We currently have 63 members, which has been an amazing response from such a small town and surrounding villages. Our members range from early 20’s to mid 70’s, and we have 4 different ability groups: Leisure, A,B and C rides. A being the speediest! We ride out from Winslow every Saturday morning and have a very distinctive pale blue and pink kit that isn’t difficult to spot.”
“A lot of our members have said how cycling has really helped them mentally and physically to cope with lockdown. To get out and exercise and be with like minded friends in the fresh air is so important and alot of life long friendships have been made. We like to socialise together too (often we are seen in the pub after a ride!) and anyone in the group needing additional help is well supported.”
With the club growing they set their sights on the return of the 2021 Tour de Vale event and began training for the big day. Although the group were now experienced in distance riding only a third of the group had ridden the Tour de Vale before, so they were very much looking forward to the event and supporting WheelPower to raise as much money for disabled people as possible.
“Supporting a great local charity ride was the main motivation for our club, as well as the opportunity to meet up with friends before, during and after the ride. It really was a great day out and an opportunity to ride alongside other local clubs as well as hundreds of other people all wishing to help the fabulous cause was fantastic. We will definitely be back next year for TDV, and hopefully with better weather!”
For more information about the Winslow Wheelers please visit their website www.winslowheelers.co.uk
Visit www.tourdevale.com to find out how to sign up for this year's event on Sunday 12 June 2022