The fifth Henley PIP – Pursuing Independent Paths – Mountain Bike Challenge was sold out this year with 110 cyclists and 2 runners running the 22 mile course through the Chiltern Hills which started and finished at Lovibonds brewery. PIP is a charity which supports adults with learning disabilities to achieve their potential.
Bill Feeney, local resident, Badgemore School Governor and a Director at the London based charity organises the event each year. Bill said, “Saturday’s event was the biggest and best PIP Mountain Bike Challenge yet. The 110 riders, 2 runners, 60 volunteers and the great Henley community have so far raised £29,000 for the adults with learning disabilities and their families that PIP supports. That is fantastic and we’re set to reach our £40,000 target! To make a donation please visit www.piponline.org.uk .”
Jon Melville was the fastest man home in 1:42:43 and one of the youngest riders Tobias Bruun-Anderson, aged just 11, was not far behind in a brilliant time of 1:53.36. Tobias attends Badgemore School and rode with his brother Nicolai (aged 9) and his father Christian. Christian said, “It’s a fantastic event and we hope that Viola my daughter will be able to do the course next year.” Sarah Gutteridge was the first lady home in 2:11:17.
Kevin Jacobs, Chair of Governors at Badgemore School ran the course for the second time this year with Rob Tatman who was running the course for the first time after doing it on a bike twice before. Rob did the course in 2:37:59 beating Kevin by just over a minute. Rob said, “It’s a great event. It is easier running up the hills than on a bike. Kevin inspired me to do it. We are both personal friends of Bill and have visited the charity and seen the fantastic work they do.” Kevin said, “I do a lot of running, I completed the 10K last week. I thought they were all soft doing it on bikes!”
Paris and Tom attend the charity’s centre 4/5 times a week. Paris’ Dad said, “It’s a great place for Paris. She throws herself into new things and it really boost her confidence.” Tom has been attending the centre for the last 7 years. His Mum, Linda said, “Tom loves doing art at the centre. Tom’s artwork is featured on the race t-shirts today. The charity has helped him a lot. I don’t know what he would do without it and he’s made lots of new friends too.”
Jo who works for the charity said, “It’s a pleasure helping the guys today organising this event and I really enjoy working at PIP. It’s a beautiful and loving place to me.”
After the cycle, riders enjoyed Lovibonds beer, a barbecue provided by Bosley Patch and a free massage by Jessica from Massage For Everybody. The event went into the evening with local band Tom Michell Trio performing.
On Friday children at Badgemore School took part in 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. Headteacher, Jacky Steele said, “PIP is a charity very close to our hearts at Badgemore; Bill Feeney, one of our governors, is a director for PIP and as a community we are always keen to support each other, particularly for a cause as worthwhile as this one. Many of our parents and staff supported the main event which took place in Henley on Saturday, and our children absolutely love taking part in their own cycle/scoot challenge alongside their friends, with parents watching and cheering them on! It’s a really feel-good day at Badgemore and it raises money for the charity through an activity which all children can take part in. Win-win!”