What you need to do

If you're all signed up, then it's time to get cracking.

Football to Amsterdam 2016

Get a bike: You'll need a bike which can make it 145 miles to Amsterdam. We recommend getting a road bike. Make sure you’ve given it a service before you set off. Ipswich Town FC’s team approached a local cycle shop, which donated a bike to the captain and then went on to sell bikes to the rest of the team.

Choose your route: Get your mates together and decide whether it’s north or south. We have two routes this year, London to Amsterdam and Yorkshire to Amsterdam. 

Register with our tour operator: Register with our tour operator, pay the £149 registration fee and pledge to raise a minimum £1,000. Last year we sold out, don't miss out and make sure you and your team get signed up early. Book early!

Set up your online fundraising page: They're easy to set up, and the best pages are the ones that are kept up to date. It’s the easiest way for people to donate to your challenge and you can claim Gift Aid to get an additional 25% on every penny you raise. Link your online fundraising page up to your club captain’s page so everyone can see how much you're raising as a team.

Raise £600 by 1 April 2016: We need you to have raised £600 by 3 April so we can secure your place on the ride, and we'd ask you to complete your fundraising by mid July. Our fundraising tips will help you do this, but that's just the start. We'll have lots of ideas to make it easy for you in our regular newsletters.

Plan your journeys: Whether you're starting in Barnsley or London, you might want to consider staying at the in a local hotel as it's an early start. You can join us for a drink the night before. Come down the night before, and get to know your fellow cyclists.

Fundraising tips

football to amsterdam

  1. Set up a fundraising page: Get a page up early, link it to your club, share widely,  and keep it updated with fun stories about what you're up to.
  2. Timing is everything: Ask for sponsorship for just after pay day. Use a bit of humour and a nice photo of your training. And make sure you thank your supporters as soon as you’ve completed the challenge.
  3. #Shirt2Work: Get your work colleagues to support you by asking them to wear their favourite team's colours to the office on a designated day.
  4. Host a quiz: Rally the troops, get in touch with your local, and lay on a Quiz for Men United. Add fines, prizes and a raffle for best effect!
  5. SweepstakeSweepstakes and pontoons are a really easy way to raise money with your friends. Especially if you can win part of the pot, too!
  6. Work as a team: The only thing that raises more money than a determined fundraiser is two determined fundraisers. Club together!
  7. Matched giving: If your workplace does matched giving, it's a great way to boost your total. Or perhaps your boss would sponsor your cycling jersey?
  8. Fan forum: Get in touch with your club or the supporters' trust and see what events they're holding. Jog along, and ask for a donation!
  9. More ideas: We've got reams of ideas and buckets of experience! See our A-Z and get in touch with us for more ideas.

How to work with your club

Considering talking to your club about support? Good plan. Here's what you should bear in mind.

Football to Amsterdam Preston start

Time your ask

International breaks are a good time to ask clubs for support, as they may have a bit of space in their calendar to organise a photoshoot with a player or host a story on their website. Similarly, if they have three home games in a week they may need a nice feature for their programme.

Manage your expectations

Football clubs get hundreds of requests from charities and people representing charities every week. They are all worthy causes, so you need to be realistic with how you think your club can help you - particularly if they have their own foundation.

Be realistic

If your club supports you on social media, in the programme or on their website, it may not translate into increased donations to your challenge. Make sure you do other things to plug your fundraising.

What’s in it for them?

Football clubs are businesses. Can your fundraising plans help them sell more shirts? Or will a fundraising evening at the club generate business for the club? The quirkier the idea, the more likely it is that your club will get involved.

Don’t be put off approaching your club for support. Speak to us, and we'll link you up with the right person at your club as well as your team's captain, who more often than not will be more than happy to help.  

Training tips

Spend some time in the saddle

Let’s just get this straight. You’re not cycling this year’s Tour de France and you don’t have to have a £5,000 bike or dedicate the next 6 months to training, either.

2016 london amsterdam start preston

The trip attracts a real mix of cyclists – the common link is that they love football, love their club and they understand why this cause is important.

  • We recommend that you complete at least five training rides before you get to the starting line-up, and you’ve made sure that you’ve done at least 50 miles in one day.
  • Get used to riding on the open road – it’s not a closed-road event, so you will need to keep in mind that there will be cars on country roads you cycle on. With that in mind, ride out into the country to get a feel for the open road.
  • Make sure you’ve taken on some hills – there won’t be many, particularly not on Day 2, but you need to make sure you are used to going up and down hill a few times.
  • Train in the kit you'll be wearing on the trip. Don’t decide to try out your new clip-on cycling shoes on the day of the ride: you need to be used to what you will be wearing, including a body pouch carrying energy bars (for example).
  • Get in touch with your team mates – training is much more fun with mates new or old. Get some training rides planned in and take some photos to show your supporters the progress you're making.

Any questions?

  • How big is the group?  

    The ride as a whole will have about 500 cyclists of all ages and cycling abilities, split over the two routes, London to Amsterdam and Yorkshire to Amsterdam.

  • Who is organising the ride?  

    We're acting as an agent on behalf of Expedition Wise Ltd, a specialist tour operator, to organise and manage the Football to Amsterdam Challenge 2016.

  • How fit do I need to be?  

    If you have never ridden before this ride is still achievable with the right training. We have training plans to help you get there and recommend starting your training early.

  • What if I can’t keep up?  

    The event is not a race and all cycling abilities are welcome. There’ll always be a cycle guide at the back to ensure you don’t get left behind. If you are unable to cycle at all, we have support vehicles to pick you up.

  • What will the accommodation be like?  

    The first night will be in bunk accommodation in the shared (max 4 people) en-suite cabins on board the ferry. The second night will be in a 3-4 star hotel in Amsterdam on a twin share en-suite basis. If you would like to share with particular person, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate this.

  • What is the food and drink like?  

    High energy and plenty of it! Water, snack bars, fruit and energy powder will be provided throughout. There will be a cooked breakfast available both on the ferry and at the hotel in Amsterdam. Lunches will be light yet energy-filled pub / restaurant style meals. Dinner will be either at the hotel or local restaurants. Please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

  • Do I need my own bike?  

    Yes. We would advise a touring or racing bike. If you're using a mountain bike, have road tyres fitted.

  • Do I have to wear a cycle helmet?  

    Yes, everyone will need to wear a helmet. You will not be allowed to ride without one.

  • How much do I need to raise?  

    We ask riders to pay a £149 non-refundable registration fee to Expedition Wise, and pledge to raise a minimum of £1,000 in sponsorship (excluding Gift Aid). We have loads of fundraising hints and tips to help you reach your target.

  • When do I need to pay in my sponsorship money by?  

    We will need to receive £600 by 1 April 2016 to confirm your place on the ride. We ask you to send us the remaining £400 sponsorship money within 6 weeks of the event.

  • What is included in the cost of the challenge?  

    • Fully supported ride with first aid trained cycle guides, bike mechanic and support vehicles
    • All meals and refreshments en route (excluding breakfast on Friday and lunch on Sunday)
    • All accommodation (cabin on ferry and 3-4 star hotel in Amsterdam)
    • Ferry crossing and return travel to your start location
    • Celebration meal in Amsterdam
  • What is not included in the cost of the challenge package?  

    • Alcoholic drinks
    • Personal spending money
    • Travel to and from the UK meeting point
    • Tips for the local support team
    • Bike and cost of any spare parts
    • Travel insurance
  • What if my fundraising involves betting?  

    If you're doing a sweepstake, have a quick look at what the Gambling Commission say about sweepstakes before you set it up.

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