The 4th Lewis Balyckyi Memorial rides got underway on the 28th September on a perfect day for cycling, no wind and warm but not hot. We still had the usual worry though of would anyone turn up? As soon as we turned into the Arena car park however our worries disappeared, the ride was due to start at 9am but as when we got there before 8 to set up there were already about 50 people there getting ready to ride. The next couple of hours were very busy as over 200 people turned up and queues formed to sign on. There was a definite ‘buzz’ about the place as people recognised old friends or met up with their team mates, ribbing each other and making friendly bets on who would get up the climbs first.
For safety reasons I had to stagger the start, setting people off in groups of about 30 or so after a brief safety talk, this went off without a hitch and before we knew it we were setting off the next lot who were doing the Men and Boys ride, closely followed by the Family ride.
We emphasised that this is not a race, and we want everyone to return safely, but I can’t help worry as by their nature cyclists are competitive. Happily this year everyone did return in the same condition as they left, apart from being a bit tired! Thanks must go to our marshal’s who spent all day on the top of the Trough of Bowland to warn the riders of the sharp descent.
While the riders were out enjoying themselves we were busy setting out the buffet for them and the tombola stall, thanks to Joanne from the NW Air Ambulance who worked hard all day on the stall.
Riders returned in the afternoon, some still smiling, some with a bit of a grimace, some looking the worse for wear, but once they had sampled the buffet and a drink the smiles returned and the banter continued, most had tales to tell and compared notes on how the ride went.
I must mention a Chorley CC rider Rob who rode the midnight Manchester to Blackpool ride then rode straight to our ride and did the 100k route, a ride of about 150 miles, a great effort.
Just as impressive though are the riders who took on the ride who have never ridden any distance before, all have their own challenges and targets and we must thank and congratulate them all for supporting us and taking part. Without riders taking part we could not do what we do.
Thanks to Preston Arena for allowing us to use their venue, all the helpers, we couldn’t have done it without you, and all the sponsors who donated prizes, food etc. And of course all the riders who gave up their day and took part. We raised just short of £5000 which is absolutely brilliant.
I tried to speak to everyone as they came back but if I missed anyone I apologise, all I can say is come back next year and I will make every effort to say hello!