Wheely Challenging Hills for Charity Bike Ride

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The challenge of those Chilterns hills was everyone lips who took part in the sixth PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) charity mountain bike challenge organised by local resident Bill Feeney on Saturday.  PIP is a charity which supports adults with learning disabilities to achieve their potential.

Over 80 riders took part which started from Lovibonds in Henley and took them on 20 mile course through the Chilterns before finishing back along the river. After the cycle, riders enjoyed Lovibonds beer, a barbecue provided by Bosley Patch and Gabriel Machin Butchers and a free massage by Jessica from Massage For Everybody.

Bill Feeney who is a  Director at the London based charity organises the event each year said, “It’s a massive community effort.  This year we’ve had some riders challenge themselves by doing it differently including 2 riders doing the course twice, a bmx rider and a rider on a fixed frame with no gears.  I’d like to thank everyone for taking part and for the 40 volunteers (including Henley Mayor, Councillor Kellie Hinton) who have helped put on the event today.  I’d also like to thank Henley Information Systems for sponsoring the t-shirts, Lovibonds for the beer and the venue, Tamsin at Bosley Patch for the catering and Machin Butchers for the meat.  We hope to raise about £50,000.  The money this year will be used for the theatre company and music group to put on a big production next Spring.”

Henley Town Councillor, Glen Lambert completed the course for the first time.  He is a friend of organiser Bill Fenney and had been to the event many times over the years. Glen said, “The hardest hill was about halfway.  I stopped for a drink and walked some of it.  I managed to peddle up all the other hills which is better than I did in training.  I’m delighted to have raise £710 for this great charity that does really good work.”  Glen was doing the race with John Savage from Henley who has completed the course every year.  His company, REND based in Newtown Road in Henley kindly donated laser-cut bottle openers which were put in the competitors’ goodie bags.

Sam, ‘The Rock’ Arthur from Henley did the challenge on a BMX bike.  Sam said “I did the challenge last year on a normal bike.  It was surprisingly easy and I did in a time of 2 hours 11 mins.  Asked how he trained, Sam replied, “Only about 5 times for about 200 metres to the pub!  I’m planning to do it next year in sub 2 hours. It’s an obviously a good and valuable charity that brings a lot of happiness into many people’s lives.”

Sarah Gutteridge and Mike Pell who are neighbours of Bill Finney wore leopard and unicorn onesie to do the challenge for the fourth time.  They said, “We thought we would do it in onesies this year to do something different which would hopefully raise more money.  Sarah said, “It was like riding in a mobile sauna!”  I’ve been the fastest lady before but today I was much slower.  Mike however did in the same time as he normally does and said, “It was great doing in disguise – we’re delighted to be the fastest leopard and unicorn!”

Laurence Plant who runs Athlete Services in Henley was the fastest rider to the complete the course in 1:10:10.

Bill is a Governor at Badgemore School and invited the children to take up another bike challenge there again this year on Thursday last week.  This was the third year the children had ridden bikes and scooters around a course in the school grounds but the first time that children in Year 6 had organised the event.  Ines and Shannon from Year 6 took up this challenge brilliantly.  Ines said, “I’ve really enjoyed being in charge of measuring out the track and explaining what everyone should do at the start” and Shannon said “It’s been amazing to help organise this event and to see how many laps each person can do. I’ve loved doing it.”

Headteacher at Badgemore School, Marion Arnold said, “It was a fantastic, fun  afternoon at Badgemore, the children loved speeding round the course on their bikes, scooters and even roller blades.”

You can still donate at www.piponline.org.uk/donate