Double world champion cyclist Becky James, led more than 1,000 fundraisers on the county's biggest charity event on two wheel - Cycle4Cynthia.
A total of 1,109 riders took part in the event at Lamport Hall on Sunday (September 24) in aid of Northampton’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Becky, who picked up two silvers at the Rio Olympics, then pedalled the five-mile route to show her support for the cause.
And the former track cyclist, who now lives in the county with her partner, Saints winger George North, was thrilled to share the joy of the event with George’s sister, Hayley Cushing, who joined her on a tandem generously loaned by Leisure Lakes Bikes in Daventry.
Speaking after collecting her finishers’ medal, presented to everyone completing the five, 25 or 50-mile routes, Becky said: “I heard about Cycle4Cynthia some years ago but of course my professional commitments meant I was never able to take part, so I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to do so this year and finally get to experience the fun of this amazing day,” explained Becky.
“I visited the hospice earlier this year and seeing the incredible care they offer to their patients and families was just so inspirational, so to be here today and join all these other riders in supporting the charity has been fabulous!” she enthused.
Becky may not have known that, among those taking part was a rider who, 20 years earlier, might have given her a run for her money.
Maxine Johnson, 56, was National Road Race champion and Commonwealth bronze medallist in the Team Time Trial back in 1994 and was one of those pedalling in the colours of the county’s newest cycling clubs, Brixworth Velo.
Also leaping into his saddle was 83-year- old Peter Smith from Northampton who, having completed the 25-mile route for the previous ten years, had decided that the
shortest distance was more than enough this time:
“My wife Ann passed away at the hospice in 2010, having previously worked in its café as a volunteer, so I will always do what I can to help and will hopefully be completing the five miles for many years to come” pledged Peter.
Meanwhile for one quartet, Mel, Doug, his son Bret and future daughter-in- law Emma, memories of the Hospice’s amazing care were all the more recent, as Mel explained; “Our very dear friend Martin Perry passed away there in April this year after a battle with kidney cancer and so we wanted to be here today to ride in his memory."