Great Weston Ride Goes from Strength to Strength

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Entries are now being taken for the 2012 version of the increasingly-popular Great Weston Ride, which takes place in the West Country on Sunday 15th July 2012, and once again organisers are expecting a bumper turnout after a second successful and well-received event in 2011.

The Great Weston Ride's 56-mile city-to-coast route starts in Bristol and then takes riders through some stunning countryside and picturesque Somerset villages as it wends its way through the Mendips and across the Somerset Levels to its final destination on the seafront in Weston-super-Mare.

The event caters for riders of all abilities, with something to offer experienced cyclists and novices alike, and, while many of the Ride's participants are new to long-distance cycling, all have their own particular goals in mind.

"One of the most striking features this year was just how many people were taking part in their first major challenge bike ride, and we had people doing it for a whole host of reasons. For some it was simply for the pleasure of taking part in a great fun event and riding a fabulous route; others had clear fitness or weight-loss goals to go with the enjoyment factor; and, of course, for many it was purely about testing themselves and rising to a real personal challenge - a number of riders had never completed anything like this kind of distance before, and were amazed at what they were actually capable of!" commented Ride Organiser, Darren McKimm.

"And, of course, although it's completely optional, for many it was also about using their efforts to fundraise for charity, and the Ride's official charity partner, The Prostate Cancer Charity, benefited to the tune of £22,000, which was a phenomenal effort and for which the Charity is enormously grateful", he added.

In fact, over £30,000 was raised in total by riders across a range of different charities, and that brings to over £50,000 the amount raised for good causes in the first two years of the Ride's existence.  And the organisers are hoping to possibly double that figure in 2012.

The Ride clearly surpassed the expectations of one rider from Almondsbury in Bristol, who commented after finishing this year's 56-mile challenge: "First ever event for me and first ride over 5 miles! Can't believe I did it, especially with the weather - definitely my greatest-ever achievement!"

And Mike Lewis, aged 41 from Newport in Wales, lost two stone in weight in the build-up to the Ride: "I heard about the Great Weston Ride and decided to enter to raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity. It gave me the get up and go to start training, and by the time of the Ride I'd lost two stone and raised £200 for the charity. I enjoyed every second of the Ride and I've already signed up again for 2012. Best thing I've done!"

Another notable feature was the groups of people riding together this year - a group of colleagues from Grange Road Surgery in Bristol took part together and they raised £1,000 for charity between them, while an intrepid group of ten dads from Timsbury near Bath got together, had a great day out, and raised a staggering £3,500 in the process.

"We were really pleased to see how many people had got together with friends and colleagues to take part this year - we had a group of riders from Waitrose in Weston, a bunch of mates rode over from Chepstow to take part, and people from LV's offices in Bristol also turned out in force - and we hope to see this continue as the event grows and grows. It's definitely the best way to enjoy the Ride, and really adds to the event atmosphere," said the organisers.

All available places were taken in the first two Great Weston Rides and, while the Ride capacity will once again be increased for 2012, it is expected that the event will fill up quickly, especially with increasing numbers of riders coming back for a second or third time.

So, while it may not have the capacity of the famous 'London to Brighton' ride, there's a sense that in all other respects the Great Weston Ride is already at least on a par as a great West Country destination challenge ride - and therefore well worth a try!

Further information, and details on how to enter, can be found at www.greatwestonride.com.