83 mountain bikers got on their bikes to raise money for PIP – Pursuing Independent Paths; a charity which supports adults with learning disabilities to achieve their potential. Organised by Bill Feeney who lives in Henley and who is a Director at the charity. This was the fourth year for the Henley Mountain Bike Challenge with riders enjoying a new 22 mile course through the Chiltern Hills which started and finished at Lovibonds brewery in the Greys Road car park.
Chris Rees from Rotherfield Peppard was the first man home. He said, “This was my first time although I do a lot of mountain biking courses. The hardest part was ‘Test’ Hill at Warburg Nature Reserve (they used to use the hill for testing motor bikes). Friends Sarah Gutteridge and Liz Jones from Henley were the first ladies home. Sarah who had done the challenge last year said, “The route was steeper and more challenging this year but it was great fun, well organised and through beautiful scenery.” Liz Jones has a had a busy few weekends, last week she was the winner in the Over 50s Henley half marathon and two weeks before that she ran a 10K in Pangbourne. She said, “This was my first time and I really enjoyed it. I’ve got nothing planned now for a little while.”
Henley Information Systems were sponsoring the event, Tamsin Borlase from Bosley Patch at Swiss Farm provided the food along with Gabriel Machin the butchers. Jessica from Massage For Everybody was on hand to give massages to the riders when they finished and the event went into the evening with local band Tom Michell Trio performing.
Bill Feeney, Director of PIP said, “It’s a fantastic community event with people from all walks of life, both from Henley and other riders from throughout the UK including people from London and Newcastle this year. It’s also a great event for lots of local business coming together for a worthwhile cause. It was brilliant that Badgemore School children got on their bikes and scooters for us – a great way of promoting exercise and healthy living.
Bill is also a Governor at Badgemore School and invited the children there to do a bike challenge too. All the children took part either on scooters or bikes around the school grounds – clocking up the 22 miles between them.
Jacky Steele, Headteacher at Badgemore said, “The Mountain Bike Challenge is becoming a highly enjoyable fixture in our school year at Badgemore. Bill Feeney, Director at PIP who are the charity supported by the challenge, is one of our governors and many of our wider school community participated in the official challenge which took place on Saturday 17th. The children were very keen to be involved in, as they were last year, and were again confident that they could ride the 22 miles between them – and they exceeded that by quite some way! I’m not sure how much money was raised yet for PIP, but I’m very proud of the way Badgemore children are keen to support local events and charities.”