On 29th June this year's 'Ride to the Tour' in aid of Right To Play sets off from the home of Harlequins R.F.C, The Stoop, in SW London to ride for the next four days, covering the 350 miles to the finish of the opening stage of the Tour de France at Mont des Alouettes in Les Herbiers near Nantes. And you can still join them!
The first stage of 80 miles takes riders from London to Portsmouth, where the group will catch the ferry over to Caen. From Caen, the next day is the longest, at 120 miles, finishing in the historic city of Rennes. Day three reaches Nantes after 80 miles, and the final day, the shortest at just 40 miles, takes in the vineyards of the Loire Valley before arriving at the scenic town of Les Herbiers on 2nd July. It is here that the group will watch the arrival of the first day's tour at the iconic windmill-lined hill finish of Mont des Alouettes.
The 'Ride to the Tour' is supported by Specialized, while Right To Play are the chosen charity of Team H.T.C-Highroad, with Mark Cavendish a vocal advocate of the organisation. Riders completing the challenge will get to watch the end of the first stage of the Tour, but there's also an exclusive behind the scenes experience with Team HTC-Highroad on the cards.
Right To Play work to improve the lives of children in some of the world's most disadvantaged areas by using play and sport within the community. The idea is to promote development, teach life skills and build stronger, more peaceful communities. Education about key issues such as HIV and AIDS prevention and vaccination campaigns is also an important part of the organisation's efforts.
The 2011 event will consist of just 200 riders, designed to be roughly the size of the pro peloton, and will be led out by former England and Harlequins Scrum Half Andy Gomarsall.
Registration for the event is still open and costs £240
The Fundraising target is £1200 so you'd better get a move on!
See www.righttoplay.com/uk/get-involved/Pages/Cycle.aspx for more information
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.