Brian Robinson photographed by Chris Auld for http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk
Brian Robinson photographed by Chris Auld for http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk

Cycling legend to get John Radford Memorial Ride underway

Legendary cyclist Brian Robinson will set the riders on their way when hundreds of people take to their bikes and trikes for the John Radford Mixed Ability Memorial Ride and Cycling Festival in West Yorkshire.

The event comprises a 100km ride in a figure-of-eight around Kirklees on greenway, as well as cycling on the Spenborough athletics track in Liversedge.

The 100km challenge doubles up as a Tri-Vets ride for Cycling UK members and non-members aged over 50, who will receive a certificate for finishing.

Seeing the riders off at the start of the 100km ride at 9am will be 85-year-old Brian, who lives locally and earned his place in cycling folklore by becoming the first Briton to finish the Tour de France in 1955 and, three years later, the first to win a stage.

The Kirklees event, on Saturday 18 June, is organised by Streetbikes, the non-profit community cycling organisation based in Milnsbridge, a district of Huddersfield – and everyone who takes part will receive the John Radford cycling medal.

Father-of-two John was knocked off his bike in a road rage incident on 31 July 2013 and spent 15 months in a coma before passing away on 5 November 2014 at the age of 70. The popular and active cyclist was Chair of Huddersfield and District CTC, and Councillor for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Former soldier Michael Gledhill, of Holmfirth, was jailed for four years and eight months in January this year, and disqualified from driving for four years, for causing John’s death by dangerous driving.

Scores of riders turned out for last year’s 100-mile challenge, which raised funds for Cycling UK’s Road Justice campaign, a cause John wholeheartedly supported.

Gill Greaves, of Streetbikes, is organising this year’s bumper event and is expecting over 100 people on the greenway ride and 200-plus on the track. Cyclists of all abilities are welcome – whether young, old, male, female, disabled, experienced or novice.

Entry is £4 and registering in advance is essential by emailing info@streetbikes.org.uk

Gill, who would also like to hear from anyone who can volunteer to be a Ride Leader for the day, said: “Our event is set up so people can ride as far as they like up to 100km on the track or on the greenway. The greenway ride will be two loops – 34 miles in the morning, 28 miles in the afternoon. People who want to ride part of the greenway can do the afternoon loop from 1pm.

"It's a proper mixed ability event and the whole day will be a celebration of cycling, with everyone who takes part receiving the John Radford medal. We can lend a bike and helmet for the day, and we have 50 recycled bikes we are planning to give away.

"People who want to use the track can come along any time between 9am and 4pm, although I need to know an approximate time they are coming.

I knew John Radford well and he understood what Streetbikes is about and the importance of getting people on bikes and encouraging cycling. John’s widow Pat and his daughters, Emma Boyes and Helen Gorman, are very supportive of us and the event, and family members will be handing out medals on the day.”

Gill Greaves

"I cycled on a tandem last year with lady called Tmara, who is blind and is now losing her hearing. She was nervous back then, but now loves cycling and the self-confidence it has given her.

"She has gone from learning to ride to cycling 42 miles on a tandem, and she is attempting the 100km this year. She is amazing. The ride is for anyone of any ability and they can do as far as they are able.

"I knew John Radford well and he understood what Streetbikes is about and the importance of getting people on bikes and encouraging cycling. John’s widow Pat and his daughters, Emma Boyes and Helen Gorman, are very supportive of us and the event, and family members will be handing out medals on the day."

Streetbikes received a massive boost in February when it secured £500,000 of funds from the National Lottery. It means the organisation can step up its work to revamp old bicycles and pass them on to people who want to get on two wheels.

Gill added: "We have given away 6,300 bikes over the six years of our existence, just in the Kirklees area, and picked up 60 bikes to recycle this Wednesday alone.

“We received a letter on Tuesday from the Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill praising our work. It’s nice to see that what we do is recognised.”

Cycling UK’s triennial veterans’ rides – or Tri-Vets as we call them – are held throughout the country in June and July. The rides are either 100 miles or 100km long and the aim is to complete the distance within 12 hours. They are a fun challenge for riders aged 50 and over which our groups have taken part in since 1928, our Golden Jubilee year.

As with the John Radford Memorial Ride, many feature a figure-of-eight route with the start and finish points at the same location so riders are never too far from base.

Tony Upfold