Join in Queen Eleanor cross-country cycle

Participants ride through Geddington ford as part of last year's Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride
Participants ride through Geddington ford as part of last year's Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride

CYCLISTS are being invited to take part in a 210-mile bike ride in August.

The trip will follow the route of the 12 Queen Eleanor crosses erected by King Edward I to commemorate his Queen when she died in 1920.

Riders will visit Lincoln Cathedral, Grantham, Stamford, Fotheringhay, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham Abbey, Cheapside and Charing Cross, with a final visit to Queen Eleanor’s tomb in Westminster Abbey.

John Wilkinson, 47, of Bridge Street, Geddington, took part in last year’s ride and hopes to join in again this year.

He said: “Last year I did three of the four days – I cycled from Harby to Grantham then Geddington to Dunstable and on to Westminster Abbey.

“I think I did about 180 miles but I had to cycle backwards and forwards to railway stations too. It was a really nice ride and, although it sounds like a long way, each day is quite gentle – there’s a fast, medium and slow group.

“It was very pleasant. You cycle through nice countryside and try to keep off the main roads. The last day was the best, cycling into London and going into Westminster Abbey in all our smelly cycling gear.”

This year’s Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride will run from Thursday, August 24, to Sunday, August 27.

Money is raised through sponsorship, with funds supporting the work of The Connection at St Martin’s in Trafalgar Square, London, which helps homeless people in Central London.

Cyclists also pay a registration fee of £80 which covers all accommodation and food. Anybody who registers before July 1 can pay a discounted fee of £65.

Last year’s event raised more than £17,000.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I can’t think of anything better in terms of a charity cycle ride.I’d never been to most of the crosses so it was good to see them and think back to what it might have been like in those days.”

Mr Wilkinson is commanding officer of the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade and said one or two members were also hoping to join him.

When Queen Eleanor died, aged 48, in Harby near Lincoln, the King ordered that a cross be created at every overnight stop during the ceremonial procession bringing her body back to London.

Three of the original crosses remain, over half of the total twelve being destroyed by Parliament after the English Civil War.

There are about 20 places on the ride, with 10 having been taken so far.

Anybody who would like to take part can register by visiting www.queen eleanorcycleride.org.uk or emailing queeneleanorcycle@gmail.com.