It’s not been that long since you couldn’t find toilet roll for love nor money and now it seems that, with a recent rise in those leaping into their saddles to get around during lockdown, laying your hands on a new bike is proving to be just as tricky, writes Anna Murby.
So, with the passion for pedal power never higher, organisers of the county’s biggest annual fundraising bike ride, Cycle4Cynthia, held in aid of Northamptonshire’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice, are hoping that newer cyclists, and those who have been donning their lycra for years, will sign up for this year’s ride and help to ensure it is the biggest and best yet.
Among those with first-hand experience of the recent push for pushbikes is Iain Noy, who runs ten Leisure Lakes Bikes stores across the UK, including one at Daventry, which each year generously provides technical support to riders at the event.
Iain says that with cycling being one of the few sports allowed from the start of the crisis and with more people who are returning to work ditching four wheels in favour of two, he’s never seen anything quite like it: “We, like most other retail outlets, closed at the beginning of all this, but as soon as the government announced that bike shops could continue to trade, we opened and so did the customer floodgates!” revealed Iain.
“In fact, I shut the store for the long Easter weekend to give my hard-working team some well-deserved rest and we came back in on the Tuesday to online orders for around a thousand bits of clothes and equipment and some 300 cycles, when normally we’d have had about 50!
“I now hear from my industry colleagues that there just aren’t any entry-level hybrid or mountain bikes to be had anywhere in the country and even though we have a booking system for visiting the shop to protect both staff and customers, we still often having people queuing outside the door – two metres apart of course – and it doesn’t show any signs of abating!” he said.
Iain, who is a passionate cyclist himself, adds that although he can’t wait for the shop’s usual Wednesday night social rides to be allowed to start up again, the one thing he isn’t missing is the pre-crisis traffic levels and hopes that that will be one thing that won’t come back when things return to normal.
In the meantime, he’s taking advantage of the quieter roads by enjoying spins out with his wife and four children and is urging everyone with access to handlebars and a helmet to get involved in this year’s Cycle4Cynthia: “Having been at the event for a number of years and knowing what an amazing day it is for everyone, I really hope that lots more people will enter and help support the Hospice, especially as so many of their fundraising activities have had to be cancelled over the last few weeks for obvious reasons” said Iain.
“Indeed, I would be riding in it myself but instead I’ll be on standby with the pumps and puncture repair kits in case anyone needs me!” he enthused.
Cycle4Cynthia 2020, which is again being sponsored by leading commercial law firm EMW, will take place on Sunday 20th September at Lamport Hall with 5, 25 and 50 mile routes on offer.
Proceeds from the ride will help to fund not only the Hospice’s specialist end-of-life palliative care for its patients and vital support for their families, but also its Wellbeing service, which aims to help those with a life-limiting illness to live their life as fully as they can by helping to maintain their physical function and independence for as long as possible.
To enter online, or for more about the history of the event, please visit www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk
You can also keep up to date with the latest news on the event, by visiting and liking the ride’s and Hospice’s pages on Facebook.
For further information, including details of the various ways in which you can support the Hospice during these challenging times, please call the fundraising team on 01604 210941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile for more details about Leisure Lakes Bikes, please visit www.leisurelakesbikes.com or to book your store appointment, call 01327 317158.