The University of Sheffield Cycling Club will embark on a mammoth challenge next week, when they cycle to Glasgow to raise money for charity.
The team, comprised of eight cyclists between the ages of 18 and 26, will set off on the 250-mile cycle on the evening of Tuesday 12 November and ride throughout the night, with the hope of reaching Glasgow by mid-afternoon the following day.
The route will take them along the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, then onto Carlisle and up to Glasgow.
While the main aim of the challenge is to raise money for charities Jubilee Food Bank, Edale Mountain Rescue and East Midlands Immediate Care Scheme, there will also be a competitive element.
The team will be racing hitchhikers taking part in Baby Bummit charity hitchhike, and will time themselves to see who can get there the quickest. If all goes according to plan, the riders will meet the hitchhikers for dinner in Glasgow on Wednesday evening, before driving back to Sheffield on Thursday.
Jayati Hine, organiser of the cycling effort, was confident that the cyclists will come out on top in the friendly competition: “I reckon there’s a good chance we could beat the hitchhikers but the nature of hitchhiking means that they could be a good few hours in front or behind us.
“It’s more down to luck, but we’ve timed how long it should take us so I think it will be close. We’re hoping it’ll take us between 17 and 20 hours.”
The ride will no doubt be tough, but the team are prepared for whatever nature throws at them. There will be two support vehicles accompanying the cyclists, one riding behind and one further ahead, that will carry spare kit, changes of clothes for adverse weather conditions and lots of food.
To achieve their goal and avoid any mishaps, the team has selected experienced and well-trained riders.
“We’ve been quite picky in terms of who we’re allowing to ride due to the extremely hard nature of the route. Everyone needed to be experienced, reliable and regularly go on long rides,” Jayati said.
“Two of our riders have cycled along with Bummit before, and both said it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Max McMurdo did it in 2016 to Brighton, and battled against snow, rain and wind – an all-round grim time! Rob Gray rode to Exeter in 2018.”
To prepare for this year’s ride, the team have been going out on group rides and training in Goodwin Gym.
While the group have only selected the fittest and most able riders for the challenge, Jayati encourages cyclists of all abilities to get involved with the club and the sport in general.
“We have two club rides a week, on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and several socials every fortnight or so. Details of the road rides are posted on the University of Sheffield Road Cycling page. There are three ability group rides to cater for everyone.
“For anyone wanting to get into long distance cycling, I’d recommend starting with shorter rides and then increasing the distance each time. You’ll get used to it very quickly. Taking enough warm layers and enough food makes it much easier and more enjoyable as well.”
Anyone wishing to donate money to the team’s cause can do so by visiting their Virgin money giving page. The link can be found on our website.