Fern Britton backs Iain Rennie cycle ride

Fern Britton

Fern Britton

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

TV PRESENTER and Bucks resident, Fern Britton, is calling on people to enter a charity bike ride, where she will be riding 35 miles.

The Great Kingshill celebrity is a big supporter of Rennie Grove Hospice Care and will be taking part in its Chiltern Cycle Challenge for the second time this March.

Fern is no stranger to cycling, having cycled thousands of miles for charity across the world, and it was her idea to set up the ride four years ago.

It starts from Aylesbury and cyclists can take on either the 10km, 35 or 75 mile route, depending on their experience.

She said: "Come and do it. The small one is only 10km, which is six miles. That would take a beginner about an hour.

"It is not a race. Cycle along by yourself and really enjoy it."

It was ten years ago when Fern did her first big charity ride for the national charity Genesis Research Trust, of which she is a patron.

She has taken part in challenges in Egypt, India, Cuba and Jordan.

Fern said: "Ten years ago I did my first big one, which was in Egypt and 250 miles in five days.

"Every year I did one or two more. Since then I have cycled thousands of miles."

She confesses she is a fair weather cyclist and goes to spinning classes during the winter, yet she still goes out on bike rides a few times a week.

She said she loves cycling through the Chilterns.

So what is it the TV presenter likes about cycling?

She said: "I am nosey. You can go along at a nice pace and look over people's garden fences, see what houses are for sale and look at nice gardens.

"The spring is the best time to start cycling- all the smells of the flowers and the bulbs coming up. I like it for that.

"I am going to be 100 per cent unashamedly sexist now- men don't usually do that.

"They want to go from A to B as they possible- it's the testosterone.

"The women I cycle with- we enjoy stopping and having a look at the view and having a nice coffee at a café. It is not a race."

This year she will be cycling the 35 mile route from Aylesbury and is not taken on the 75 mile route due to time constraints.

She is also cycling around Tanzania and Zanzibar in October for The Genesis Trust, and doing the London Nightrider in June.

Fern, who lives with her husband, TV chef Phil Vickery, and their family in Great Kingshill has long been a support for Iain Rennie Hospice at Home.

She said: "This one speaks to me. I have been very fortunate- no-one in my family have had to use the Iain Rennie nurses thankfully.

"I know many people who have and they talk so warmly about them and the work Iain Rennie does.

"It just speaks to me. Sometimes you meet people you like and sometimes you meet people you don't. I like this charity."

It is also a busy year for Fern. Her fourth novel, A Seaside Affair, is out in April.

She has also signed another book deal for another three novels within the next three years.

Fern is presenting a new series coming out on BBC2 described as The Great British Bake Off version of gardening called The Patch: The Big Allotment Challenge later this year.

And then in the autumn there will be a new series of Fern Britton Meets...

She said: "I never thought I would be able to cycle as far as I can and I proved myself wrong. I never thought I would be able to write 100,000 words for a novel and I have.

"Now I think 'Blimey, don't doubt yourself, be fearless.'"

The Chilterns Cycle Challenge is on Sunday, March 23. It starts in Aylesbury Town centre. Entry is £17 for adults, £10 for children aged five to 16 and under five's go free. To book call 01442 820740 or go to www.renniegrove.org/chilternscycle

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