Over 400 riders turned out for last weekend's inaugural running of the Brian Robinson Challenge ride in beautiful weather over a challenging 77 mile Pennine course that featured nearly 2,500m of climbing.
Riders had the rare pleasure of a mass start, with Brian Robinson himself as starter. Ride organiser, Martyn Bolt a local councillor had secured a road closure for the initial section to allow riders to get away swiftly. Once on the road the terrain soon strung the field and riders found their own natural pace.
Although no formal timing was undertaken this year, ( an issue being looked into for the future) the first rides back stormed around in a very smart 4hrs15 mins whilst many more were content to 'get value for money' and enjoy a day's riding through some stunning scenery arriving back at the ride HQ in over 7 hours.
Brian Robinson was present throughout the day, greeting people and manning an information stand for the Dave Rayner Fund of which he is President, he then officially started the event before turning up at the first feed station to refuel riders and then back to base to welcome the riders back to Huddersfield.
The event, which ran for last two years at the Kirklees Sportive before being re-named in honour of the area's most famous cycling son, is run to encourage cycling and also raise money for charity. The ride draws on volunteer support where possible and ride organiser Martyn Bolt paid tribute to all the volunteers and supporters:
" We hope to have raised over £7000 for good causes this year, which is more than the previous two years totals combined. That is due to having an event which riders respect, support from motorcycle marshals, caterers, Trycycling mechanical help and the generosity of Huddersfield rugby Club for the HQ venue".
The beneficiaries from this years event will be the Dave Rayner Fund, Jane Tomlinson Charity, CTC's Cyclists Defence Fund and the national Association for Bikers with Disability
Probably the hardest climb came early with the ride up from Meltham to Wessenden Head after only four miles, organiser Martyn Bolt said " Holme Moss is the iconic climb but this event shows why people like Brian who have grown up riding around here were able to enjoy success in cycling. If you can ride here you can ride anywhere!"
Feedback forms were handed out to all the riders completing the challenge and, say the organisers, the majority rated the ride as being excellent for facilities, route direction and feeder stations.
The plant is to turn the Brian Robininson Challenge Ride into an annual event on the last Sunday in April using the same route and HQ. If your appetite has been whetted for next year's challenge you may need to be quick because entry is likely to be capped at 500 as a manageable field for the road closure at the start.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.