St Albans Charity Cycle Ride marks 20 years

St Albans cycle ride 2011.

St Albans cycle ride 2011. - Credit: Archant

Up to 1,500 cyclists are gearing up to take part in this year’s St Albans Charity Cycle Ride which is now in its 20th year.

It was first held in 1995 and as the rides have almost invariably taken place in the spring, this year is no exception with the ride scheduled for Sunday, May 18. As always, it is sponsored by the Herts Advertiser.

And this year it promises to be better than ever, with more opportunity for local charities to enter their own teams and benefit from sponsorship raised.

When the cycle ride was first conceived, it was regarded as ground-breaking. In 1993 the three St Albans-based Rotary Clubs agreed to pool resources and work together on a single annual event, rather than each continuing to raise money on smaller projects as Rotary Clubs across the country did.

Research was carried out and eventually a cycle ride was identified as the joint event to take forward.

It was the brainchild of Bill Martindale, then a member of St Albans Verulamium Rotary Club and the first chairman of the Cycle Ride Committee, although he admits that he “borrowed” the idea from a friend.

Bill, who now lives in Lincolnshire, is still heavily involved in the Rotary movement but ceased to be on the committee a decade ago.

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He said: “Three Rotarians from each club formed the committee and we divided up the tasks between us, As one of our first actions, we made a presentation to the Herts Advertiser and it was agreed that it would be a ‘partner’ in the event.” That support has continued throughout the ride’s 20 years.

As Bill was deputy head of Nicholas Breakspear School, it was agreed that the ride should start and end there.

That continued for several years but, more recently, the start/finish point has moved to Oaklands College campus in Hatfield Road.

This year’s ride will again have the use of that campus’s facilities, with plenty of parking for riders who arrive by car.

From small beginnings – less than 500 riders took part in 1995 – the St Albans Charity Cycle Ride has developed into a familiar local annual event with around 1,500 cyclists of all ages and abilities taking part in what is not a race but an opportunity to cycle through the Herts countryside.

Full details on taking part in this year’s event can be obtained from the website or by phoning 01727 852260.