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Newly-elected Batley & Spen MP Kim Leadbeater to lead charity ride in memory of murdered sister Jo Cox

Five-day ride from West Yorkshire to Westminster returns for fifth year to raise funds for Jo Cox Foundation

Kim Leadbeater, the new Member of Parliament for Batley & Spen – the constituency her sister Jo Cox represented when she was murdered in 2016 – will lead more than 70 cyclists on a charity ride from West Yorkshire to London later this month, with a virtual ride also taking place enabling anyone to participate, wherever they are.

The ride, named the Jo Cox Way, will start in Cleckheaton, which lies in the constituency the Labour MP represented and where her sister, representing the same party, was last night returned with a majority of 323, on Wednesday 28 July and end in London on Sunday 1 August.

On the way there will be overnight stops in Buxton, Market Bosworth, Milton Keynes and Uxbridge.

It aims to raise funds for the Jo Cox Foundation, established in 2016 by her friends and family, which aims “to build a positive legacy for Jo and to create something positive from the tragedy that was her murder.”

Leadbeater said: “I am delighted and extremely excited that the Jo Cox Way ride is back, providing a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and different backgrounds to connect and engage with one another.

“The past 12 months has been incredibly challenging for us all, as so many people have been affected by lockdown and physical distancing,” she continued.

“But it is amazing to see that, despite all the difficulties, many people’s commitment to making a difference has only grown stronger, with cyclists joining together for a reinvigorated ride to celebrate the fact that we have ‘far more in common than that which divides us’ – words from Jo’s maiden speech in Parliament.”

Now in its fifth year, the Jo Cox Way was the idea of Yorkshire-based businessman Sarfraz Mian, who said. “This year’s ride is going to play an important role in helping to establish a new normal for us all.

“Individuals taking part will form lasting friendships through this shared experience and we will celebrate community in the towns and villages we ride through and do our bit to bring business to local hotels, shops, cafés and pubs as we wend our way through the countryside.

“I never actually met Jo, but her belief in creating a fairer, kinder world for everyone really touched me and spurred me on to develop the Jo Cox Way so that I and my fellow cyclists can help continue her work and celebrate her big heart, generosity of spirit and commitment to bring about change.”

While all places on the full ride are now booked, slots are still available for anyone wanting to join in on individual days, or to ride it virtually, with details available on the event’s website.

Referring to the virtual ride, Leadbeater said: “We introduced this model last year, when Covid brought a halt to our original plans, and couldn’t believe just how successful it was.

“We set a target of 25,000 miles – the distance required to circumnavigate the globe – and were astounded to see this smashed by families, community groups, friends and individuals who clocked up a staggering 30,267 miles between them.

“Cyclists loved taking part and really rose to the challenge, so the virtual ride is back by popular demand – and this time we are aiming to cycle twice around the world, a total of 50,000 miles!

“Anyone can join in by doing a short family ride or taking on their own personal physical challenge,” she added.

Donations can be made to the Jo Cox Foundation by following this link.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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