Two of Britain’s leading online bike retailers are looking to go the extra mile to raise money for this evening’s BBC Children In Need appeal, with Wiggle hosting a 24-hour Trackathon, while Chain Reaction Cycles is holding a Static Cycle Challenge with staff members seeking to clock up a combined total of 1,000 miles by 10pm this evening.
Wiggle’s 24-hour Trackathon takes place at the Calshot Velodrome, in Fawley near Southampton, with eight teams each riding three stints, handing over Children In Need mascot Pudsey Bear to the next team at the end of each hour long session.
Home side Calshot Crusaders, who have been supplied by Wiggle with Wiggle jerseys plus sports nutrition, chamois cream and warm up cream, start proceedings at 5pm, and two Two Team Wiggle riders, Jon Cannings and Richard Pearman, will also be taking part.
Other participants will represent the British Triathlon Federation, Chippenham Wheelers, New Forest CC, Bournemouth Arrow, Poole Wheelers, Birmingham CC and Team Midland Racing.
Last year, the event saw teams cover a total of 588.89, and the aim this time round is to beat that benchmark by riding 594 miles, the distance between Calshot and Inverness.
Calshot rider Malcolm Holmes said: "We've been training for the past few weeks for what is undoubtedly going to be a fierce challenge. We're hoping the spectators will really get behind us and spur us all on to great things. It's definitely going to hurt, but it's all for a great cause.
“All money raised will go to the BBC Children in Need Appeal so we'd really appreciate any donations - please donate via our Just Giving page. Please make the riders' suffering more worthwhile by donating more Pudsey Pounds!"
He added: "It's bound to be a very competitive event with all the teams sizing each other up and having a lot of fun. After our first shift at 5pm, we are then scheduled to ride from 1am until 2am and again from 7am until 8am on Saturday."
Martin Talbot, Wiggle's director of marketing, said: "The 24-hour trackathon sounds like a painful but very worthy fundraiser. Everyone at Wiggle wishes all the riders the best of luck. We're proud to support the Calshot team and hope the event raises lots of money for such a great cause."
Meanwhile, at 6am this morning, Chain Reaction Cycles staff led by operations manager Barry Dunn started their Static Cycle Challenge, aiming to ride a total of 1,000 miles by 10pm this evening, with staff volunteering to take 20-minute bursts on the static bikes.
Dunn estimates that 240 staff will need to volunteer to help achieve the goal by 10pm. As well as the Static Cycle Challenge, the company is also having a non-uniform day, and those taking part in the ride are encouraged to come into work in Lycra instead of their normal work clothes.
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.