Heading up the new Action Medical Research programme is the charity’s flagship London to Paris tour (18 - 22 July 2012), including a new women-only route for 2012. There are also three alternative routes, open to all, including a three-day, faster option for the most dedicated riders. The popular 300-mile ride sees 600 cyclists arrive in Paris in time for the final stage of the Tour de France, riding in convoy down the Champs Elysees the day before the professional cyclists head into the city.
Also new for women’s cycling is an extended DIVA100 series, spurred on by the success of the first DIVA100 ride led by TV’s Davina McCall in 2011. There will be new events in Scotland and The Midlands in addition to the original ride in Sussex, all taking place in May and offering 100km or 50km route options.
New overseas tour Ride L’Etape (6 - 9 September 2012) will provide the toughest challenge on the schedule, replicating stage 19 from last year’s Tour de France. The 116km ride through the French Alps tackles three of the Tour’s most notorious climbs – Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez. It promises stunning views, twisting hairpin bends and gruelling gradients, all timed to add to the Tour experience.
Also new is Morocco Bike or Hike (5 - 9 July 2012), offering a mountain biking challenge in the Atlas Mountains or, for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, a trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the region’s highest peak, overlooking the Sahara Desert.
Challenges closer to home include the UK End 2 End, from Lands End to John O’ Groats in nine days, and the RIDE24 endurance relay, which sees teams race day and night for 24 hours at the classic Goodwood Motor Circuit.
The charity’s RIDE100 series also continues to offer a range of one-day regional UK rides in stunning cycling locations, including the Lake District, Peak District and Scotland’s Trossachs mountains. These graded events are all chip timed and offer both a 100-mile and 100km route option.
Team GB Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas MBE, Cycling Ambassador for the charity, says: “2012 is a huge year for me, as I get ready to compete in the home Olympics, and it’s also a really special year for Action Medical Research as the charity celebrates its 60th anniversary. I was four years old when I first learnt to ride a bike but sadly some children never get that chance. So I hope everyone will support me when I go for gold but I also hope people will support Action Medical Research by taking on one of its fantastic cycling challenges this year to help fund more life-changing research for some of the UK’s sickest babies and children.”
Money raised by the charity through its cycling programme helps fund vital medical research into conditions affecting babies and children. Research currently being supported by Action Medical Research includes work around meningitis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and premature birth, as well as some very rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.