Milan books his place on the virtual start line of the World's Biggest Bike Ride
An eight-year-old boy who was congratulated by the Duchess of Cornwall for his reading efforts will be turning pedals instead of pages when he takes part in the World’s Biggest Bike Ride next week.
Milan Kumar form Bolton has signed up to take part in the initiative launched by national cycling charity Cycling UK to encourage everyone to get out and ride on Saturday, September 12 and show how widespread the support for cycling is
The schoolboy has been cycling 50 laps a day around the stadium of his local football club Bolton Wanderers FC to raise money for charity and to promote child literacy. You don’t need to undertake a big challenge like Milan to take part in the event, you can cycle as far or as short a distance as you like, the important thing is just to go out for some form of riding during the day.
Around 20 million people in England own or have access to a cycle, and more than a third of households in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have use of a bike. As the UK government recognises how important cycling is, the time is now for cyclists to show a spirit of togetherness and demonstrate their support with a ride on Saturday, September 12.
Milan cycled 50 laps of the football stadium every day for 10 days last month before returning to school this week. However, keen to carry on his cycling, he will be making sure to go for a ride on September 12 and is planning to go to Pigeon Tower in nearby Rivington.
Milan said: “As soon as I heard about the World’s Biggest Bike Ride, I signed up to take part. It will be fun and I am looking forward to is as I have always loved cycling.”
Matt Mallinder, Cycling UK’s director of influence and engagement, said “We are delighted that after a well-earned rest following his ten day cycling challenge Milan has signed up to be part of the World’s Biggest Bike Ride on September 12.
“It doesn’t matter if you are eight or 80, anyone can take part and show their support for cycling, demonstrating at this vital time how a new era of more active travel can be achieved. In many ways, we’re already part of an unprecedented big ride with the large increases in the number of people cycling as part of the effect of the global pandemic. We want to inspire people to keep riding. There is still time to register to take part, and get behind this exciting step change for cycling by sharing your experience on the day on social media using #WBBR2020.”
It doesn’t matter if you are eight or 80, anyone can take part and show their support for cycling
Matt Mallinder, Cycling UK's head of influence and engagement
Milan’s story appeared on the BBC and in national newspapers after he received a letter from Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, who is patron of the Royal Society of Literature, commending him for reading 50 books during lockdown.
Milan took part in the Summer Reading Challenge at Bolton Central Library and had originally aimed to complete the challenge in a year but was devouring books at a rate of four a week.
Participating in the #fitforlit cycling challenge, young Milan has raised more than £2,000 for the National Literacy Trust to support children whose access to books has been affected by the COVID crisis.
“I want to make a difference to the lives of all children who have not been attending school during the COVID-19 pandemic. 1 in 5 children in England cannot read and reading promotes health and wellbeing,” Milan said.
Milan lists his two main hobbies are sports and reading. As well as cycling, the active youngster also enjoys football, cricket, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and Bollywood dancing. He also goes camping and hiking with his local Cub group and likes taking the family’s dogs Rolo and Mio for a walk.
Play your role in showing how pumped up for cycling we are across all the nations of the UK by signing up for the World Biggest Bike Ride at www.cyclinguk.org/pumpedup/wbbr