London-based clothing firm Rapha has teamed up with the charity Ambitious about Autism to launch the Manchester to London Challenge – a 220-mile ride that starts at the Manchester Velodrome, and finishes at Lee Valley VeloPark at Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The ride takes place on Sunday 7 September and the route has been devised to follow quiet roads in the Peak District, the Midlands and the Chilterns – plenty of hills, then – with four feed stations along the way and mechanical support, although riders are advised to make sure they are self-sufficient.
Rapha, whose CEO Simon Mottram has a son who has autism, previously partnered with the charity last year for its Bordeaux-Paris Challenge.
The entry fee is £150 with participants asked to raise a minimum of £750 in sponsorship, and the event is limited to 300 places.
Training rides will be held, starting from Rapha’s existing Cycle Club in London and the branch in Manchester that is due to open this summer, and the latter venue will also host a pre-ride party. Rapha is also producing limited edition North and South caps.
According to Rapha, “The distance and terrain will provide a real challenge travelling through some of Britain’s most beautiful and lesser-known landscapes.
“Each rider on entry is allocated a team, either North or South (unless you’re from Birmingham, in which case you must choose a team).
“The quickest average time will then be declared the winning region, and will host the finish of the following year’s event.”
You can find out more information about the London to Manchester Challenge, including how to enter, here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.