England’s test cricketers may have retained The Ashes, but there’s still a one-day international series to come – and if you’re into cricket as well as cycling, former England captain Michael Vaughan is inviting you to join him and other celebrities including Victoria Pendleton to watch some of the action while also helping raise money for some good causes.
Chance To Ride, which takes place from 6-17 September, is a series of four challenging bike rides following a four-stage route that ties in with the venues of the forthcoming one-day matches – Headingly in Leeds, Manchester’s Old Trafford, Edgbaston, the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, and Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl.
The series of rides aims to raise money for the charities Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which aims to fund sports activities for disadvantaged young people around the world, as well as the Cricket Foundation’s Chance to Shine campaign, which seeks to keep cricket going in state schools.
Each of the four legs will have a different flavour, and includes free match tickets provided by the charity partners, hotels, ride support and food and drink.
Participants can choose one three-day stage, or combine all four.
STAGE 1 (80 miles)
Friday 6 September: Watch England vs Australia in their opening one day international match at Headingly
Saturday 7 September: Cycle with Michael Vaughan to Old Trafford
Sunday 8th September: Watch the second England vs Australia match at Old Trafford
STAGE 2 (90 miles)
Monday 9th September: Spend a day in Manchester’s National Cycling Centre, using the velodrome, BMX track and MTB trails
Tuesday 10th September: Ride to Birmingham with additional time trial option
Wednesday 11th September: Third one day international match at Edgbaston
STAGE 3 (86 + 55 miles)
Thursday 12th September: Cycle 86 miles into the Brecon Beacons
Friday 13th September: Ride the 56 miles into Cardiff
Saturday 14th September: Fourth match at the SWALEC stadium
STAGE 4 (80 + 80 miles)
Sunday 15th September: Cycle from Bristol to Southampton
Monday 16th September: Fifth and final match at the Ageus Bowl
Tuesday 17th September: Overnight night ride through the South Downs and back into London
Each stage can be purchased for £250 plus a pledge of £450 sponsorship, and £50 is needed to reserve a place.
All four stages are available for £750 plus a minimum sponsorship pledge of £1,500.
Among the celebrities taking part is multiple world and Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton, who after hanging up her wheels in the wake of winning gold in the keirin at London 2012 found herself starring in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing alongside Vaughan.
Other riders include the Olympic medal-winning gymnast Louis Smith, former England spin bowler Phil ‘Tuffers’ Tuffnell, Andrew Strauss, former England cricket captain, retired tennis player Tim Henman, and the retired footballer Jamie Redknapp.
When the event was launched earlier this year, Vaughan said: “I loved taking part in Strictly. It was terrific fun and incredibly hard work. This is going to be a seriously different challenge, but I am really looking forward to it.
“I’ll be cycling 462 miles over the 12 days and that is not going to be easy, but these are two really good causes.
“For more than a decade Laureus has been using sport as the means to help improve the lives of young people and it now reaches 34 countries.
“Since it started, Laureus has helped more than one-and-a-half million kids and supports around 140 sports-based community projects around the world.
“Chance to Shine is keeping cricket alive in schools. Over the past seven years it has brought competitive cricket and its educational benefits to nearly two million young people in thousands of state schools.”
Pendleton, whose own rivalry over the years with Australia's Anna Meares has often been likened to being cycling's version of The Ashes, commented: “After months of competing against each other during Strictly Come Dancing last year, it will be great to support Michael on his bike ride and help raise funds for charity.
“I was in Rio for the Laureus Awards earlier this year and it’s great to be able to support organisations that help children through sport.
“The velodrome in Manchester holds fond memories for me and it will be great to meet some of the fundraisers taking part on the ride.”
For more information on how to enter one or all of the rides, click 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.