Palmer Park Velo is a unique cycling club that caters for children between the ages of 4 and 18. The club is situated in Reading, England at Palmer Park Velodrome and meets on a Saturday morning between 9am and 12:30pm. With the racing over for another year and the winter season about to begin the coaches and riders at PPV decided that it was time for a challenge. So they set themselves the challenge of cycling 1800km in just three hours to raise as much money as possible for the relocation of Ekukhanyeni Orphanage.
On the 15th October 2011 at 8:45am 60 PPV riders rode up to the fence at Palmer Park Velodrome and waited for the whistle to blow and the stopwatch to start. Once underway the riders sped around the velodrome with determination and commitment, everyone willing to push through the pain to complete the challenge. With so many riders taking part a number of groups began to form, with the intermediate riders singing “Bob the Builder can he fix it”” to fill their time whilst the older riders where kept busy trying to maintain 30km/hour at the bottom of the track. The younger riders took a slightly more casual approach as they pedalled around the running track sharing jokes and stories about their week. In the centre of the track the parents sipping coffee and nibbling on cakes watched on, amazed at the unfolding event. The morning was only briefly disrupted when a slight touch of wheels at the half way point brought three riders crashing to the floor. Unfortunately two riders were forced to abandon, one with a broken shoulder whilst the other suffered cuts and bruises to the face.
The other riders where not put off and with the debris and bodies cleared they were soon back on the track. However with an hour left on the clock the riders were starting to feel the pain as the boredom set in but with the image of the Ekukhanyeni children fixed in their mind they pushed on maintaining the pace. As the final whistle blew and the riders completed their final lap there were cheers and smiles all round, the riders where exhausted but happy.
The smiles turned to grins as the total distance was calculated at an amazing 3200km!! A remarkable achievement. A number of the palmer park riders completed a fantastic 100km whilst some of the younger riders went further than anyone could have ever imagined with Finn Hawkins (in the Under 6 age group) completing an outstanding 42.7km!! Every rider gave 110% pushing through the pain to not only complete but smash their challenge.
By Emily Hogge, Trustee