Help the Jo Cox Way cycle the world

Cyclists leave Cleckheaton at the start of the Jo Cox Way in 2019
Cyclists leave Cleckheaton at the start of the Jo Cox Way in 2019
Cyclists leave Cleckheaton at the start of the Jo Cox Way in 2019
Rob Kingston's picture

Help the Jo Cox Way cycle the world

The fifth annual Jo Cox Way ride – in memory of the MP who was murdered in 2016 – is going global as cyclists are encouraged to donate miles wherever they ride

The murder of MP Jo Cox in West Yorkshire four years ago was a shocking reminder of the division and hatred that exists in the UK. But her death has also inspired examples of togetherness and community spirit, including the foundation that bears her name. She is also remembered in the Jo Cox Way, a five-day, 288-mile cycle ride from West Yorkshire to London, which celebrates her zest for life and passion for the power of community.

This year, with large group events still not possible due to coronavirus restrictions, the organisers have had to take a different approach. Instead of taking part in a group ride, cyclists are invited to pledge their cycling miles from rides taking place on any days between Wednesday 22 and Sunday 26 July, with a target of reaching 25,000 miles: a full circumnavigation of the globe. The rides can be done anywhere: outdoors, alone or in a (socially distanced) group, or indoors on a static bike or turbo trainer.

Among the 60 cyclists who originally planned to do the normal ride is Jo Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, who is delighted with the alternative arrangement. “I am thrilled that we have found such a great way to make the ride happen,” she said. “The event is always hugely inspiring, as people of all ages and from all backgrounds come together in a physical challenge that gives them the opportunity to connect and engage with one another. The ride has shown that, no matter what bad things happen in the world, they will never succeed in snuffing out the community spirit that burns so brightly throughout our cities, towns and villages.

“Covid-19 might have delivered a new normal to the world, but Jo’s belief that we have ‘more in common’ stands even stronger than ever and this year’s cycling initiative pays tribute to that.”

The ride has shown that, no matter what bad things happen in the world, they will never succeed in snuffing out the community spirit that burns so brightly throughout our cities, towns and villages

Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox's sister

Among those helping to organise the event are Lynnette Evans, senior project officer for Cycling UK's Big Bike Revival project (her involvement with the Jo Cox Way is in a personal capacity). She has ridden the route to London twice, and is looking forward to seeing more people take part this year, albeit virtually: "I like that cycling is a great way to bring people together, and the event promotes the wider message of shared values of community and caring," she said.

"This year I'll miss the amazing camaraderie of the group ride; however, the opportunity for many more people to get involved and pledge cycle miles to reach our target of biking round the world is really exciting. It's about promoting the positive message of strong communities, and this year we can connect with people all over the UK and across the world.”

If you want to take part, visit the event’s Strava group, Facebook page, or the Jo Cox Way website to find out more.

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