Saints Foundation are celebrating after their Big Bike Challenge riders completed a gruelling three days in the saddle to raise more than £27,000 for the charity.
More than 50 cyclists took on the challenge to ride from Huddersfield Town’s John Smith’s Stadium to St Mary’s in time for the final game of the season – and it was a tricky start for the group.
Wet weather and tough climbing through the Peak District made the opening miles incredibly difficult, and it didn’t get any easier as the day progressed with stormy conditions making sure the riders suffered as they made their way to Leicester.
Through grit and determination, the groups made it to their first overnight halt – if very cold and in need of a hot meal and bath – after more than 100 miles in the saddle, which included more than 2,000 metres of climbing.
Day two brought better conditions for the riders as they took on the 106-mile route from Leicester. Riding past Silverstone, the groups were motoring onto their destination of Reading but were duly stopped in their tracks by their biggest climb of the day at Howes Hill.
With gradients at 15 per cent, it was a grind, however everyone made it up and into the second stop before the final day into Southampton.
On the final day, the three-day riders were joined by the single-day riders for the final 54 miles back home. Those taking on the final day included former Saints players Wayne Bridge, James Beattie and Brian Howard, offering a motivational boost ahead of the last few miles on the road.
Emotions were running high back in Southampton as family and friends gathered for the riders’ homecoming, and that soon turned to elation as the groups arrived to finish an incredible effort.
Thanks to generous donations, the riders have raised more than £27,000 for Saints Foundation. The proceeds will go into helping transform lives in and around Southampton.
Saints Foundation works with more than 19,000 participants every year from ages of three to 103, investing more than £3million into the local community.