You might remember a little under a year ago, Big Brother host Davina McCall riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End as part of David Walliams team of celebrities that raised more than £1 million for Sport Relief. Well, it seems like the cycling bug has bitten her, with the announcement today that she will be leading a women-only charity ride, called Davina’s DIVA100, in Sussex this May.
Two routes are on offer for the ride that starts and finishes in Midhurst, West Sussex, comprising a 100km challenge ride or a shorter 50km ride, and both are backed by bicycle manufacturer Specialized, with the event aiming not only to encourage more women to get into the saddle but also raise money for Action Medical Research.
McCall, currently presenting Got To Dance on Sky 1 and ITV 1’s The Biggest Loser, says: “I’ve become a cycling bore since then [the Sport Relief ride], but I love it with a passion. It’s an affordable, sociable way to keep fit and doesn’t have to be competitive. Although when Matthew and I go out together it always is!
“I’ve been involved with Action Medical Research since I was a child, but this is my first cycling event for the charity. I hope lots of ladies saddle up and join me for this new fundraiser. It’s going to be a fun day out and a great way to help such a special charity raise much-needed funds. Come on the girls!”
Funds raised through Davina’s DIVA100 will be used for research into conditions affecting babies and children such as meningitis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and premature birth, besides other rare conditions that can severely affect children.
Event manager Sarah Stevenson from Action Medical Research says: “We already put on a range of popular cycling events each year, but the majority of participants are male. We decided to introduce a more female-friendly event to encourage new cyclists to join us. The DIVA100 will be a great day out with the girls and we’re thrilled that Davina will be leading it.”
Specialized is providing full support to the event including producing a free training guide, plus full back-up on the day.
Anne Immelman, Specialized Marketing Manager says: “We are delighted to be associated with Davina’s DIVA100 and Action Medical Research. Our goal is to communicate our passion for cycling to women who may be looking for the next challenge or a good excuse to get back on a bike.
"Davina’s passion for the sport makes her the ideal ambassador for the sport and we are very excited at the prospect of riding alongside her and hundreds of female cyclists.”
Entry to the event costs £28 and participants also need to raise a minimum of £50 in sponsorship. Organisers say that places are limited and early registration is advised.
Details of how to register and the free training guide can be found at www.action.org.uk/davinas_diva100
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.