The Tour de France may be the world’s biggest annual sporting event, but however much of a cycling fan you are, it has to be admitted, perhaps grudgingly, that in even-numbered years the World Cup or Olympic Games are the sporting showpieces that capture the public’s imagination.
This summer, however, a bike ride visiting the home grounds of all of London’s clubs aims to bring together the worlds of football and cycling to help raise money for charity.
The beneficiaries of the ride, which takes place on 5 June, a week before the World Cup gets under way in South Africa, are the London Cycle Campaign (LCC), which needs no introduction to road.cc readers, and Southall Black Sisters, which manages a resource centre in West London for Afro-Caribbean and Asian women suffering as a result of domestic violence and other abuse.
Dubbed KickBallPedalBike, the ride takes in 22 grounds, ranging from Barclays Premier League to Blue Square Conference level as well as Wembley Stadium, where it finishes after all of 142 miles, 17 hours 30 minutes after getting under way at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane.
Clubs visited along the way span Chelsea, currently top of the Premier League to Bromley, mid-table in the Blue Square Conference South.
Those who are daunted by the length of the full ride are more than welcome to join in for shorter sections.
The man behind the idea is former LCC campaign officer Thomas Moulton, who is under no illusions about the scale of the task, telling the LCC newsletter: “150 miles in the free-flowing countryside is difficult enough, but in the city's stop-start streets it's a massive challenge.”
He continued: “We'll attempt to visit all 22 football grounds inside the M25 in one day, from the glamour of the Premier League to the grit of the Blue Square conference.”
"For anyone who doesn't know them, the Southall Sisters are amazing, combatting the depressingly prevalent problem of domestic violence, a group that everyone should support regardless of gender or race," he added.
Cyclists interested in taking part in the ride, or helping Thomas with its organisation, can contact him through a form on the LCC website, while a dedicated website has also been set up giving full details including itinerary and timings.
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.