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Red Kite Kite pedal power earns £8K for charities
MORE than £8,000 was raised for charities in the area thanks to the pedalling efforts on display at this year's Marlow Red Kite Ride.
The annual event, now a firm fixture in the cycling calendar, completely sold out, as around 550 riders completed three different routes over the Chilterns and through Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire.
Event Director Steve Tolmie called it a "huge success", and said: "It’s been a great day and a huge achievement for the people of Marlow to put on this event. It’s great to feel a sense of community spirit.
"We’ve already had a lot of positive feedback about the quality of the ride, the organisation and the feed stations. And many have said they will be back next year."
There were almost twice the number of entrants as last year and among those taking part was a former national road race champion, Bryce Beeston, from Auckland, New Zealand.
Beeston, now aged 65, was the 1977 New Zealand champion and also competed at the 1968 Olympic Games. He participated in the 50 mile Red Kite Ride.
He said: "I’m not really used to taking part in these kinds of events anymore. I do more running than cycling now. But I really enjoyed today. And I’m very impressed with the way cycling is becoming so much more successful in this country."
Course director Willi Moore, himself a former Olympic bronze medallist, made some strategic changes to last year’s route including a diversion through a 40 foot wide ford - the river Loddon - in the Berkshire village of Twyford. All three routes - 50, 80 and 100 miles - were directed through the ford - an extra challenge enjoyed by riders who tried to avoid getting wet.
The youngest finisher was 10 year-old Theo Currie from West London, who was inspired to take up cycling by Bradley Wiggins’ victory at last year’s Tour de France. Young Theo completed the 50 mile route in a highly respectable 4 hours 36 minutes, even though it was only the second time he had cycled 50 miles. He said: "It was a fantastically organised ride. I’d definitely like to do it again. The countryside was stunning."
An autographed GB jersey, signed by Sir Chris Hoy and other members of the successful GB track squad, was won in an open riders’ draw by Marlow resident John Watson, who rode the 100 mile event.
Mr Watson's loyalties had been torn, as he admitted that it was the first day of the new rugby season and the Red Kite Ride clashed with his commitments to coach the Marlow Under 16 rugby players. He said: "Well, they knew I had entered this event and I really wanted to do it because I’d cycled the 50 mile ride last year. And this was such a great day. I really enjoyed the ride."
The profits raised from this year’s event will be split between three local charities: Skidz, In-Vision, and Marlow Sports Club.
The event is supported by British Cycling. For more details please visit http://marlowredkiteride.co.uk.
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