03 July 2010

Charity begins everywhere

A mass bike tour round the coastline of Britain starts today. The Great Tour will take a band of cyclists 'drawn from sport, celebrity, charity, politics, science and the arts' 6600km (4100 miles) in 64 days, starting and finishing in Seaton, in Devon. The organisers say it'll be the first of an annual event.

Coastline rides seem to be a thing of the moment. Nearing the end of his coast ride is Simon Curtis, who since 14 March has been dropping in every onshore lighthouse en route.

Inevitably, both are for charity. Now, charity is great, and I've done bike rides for charity myself (eight hundred quid for asthma research when I did an End to End, and eight thousand for cancer research round Europe). Many of my best friends have done bike rides for charity and I've been happy to support their causes. I've also done several more not for charity, just for fun, as have many of my best friends.

But it does feel now like every bike tour has to be for charity. These days you can't nip out to on your bike to get some fish and chips without being expected to raise awareness for heart disease.

We need a complementary wave of bike tours for people who don't have any more mental energy or money for good causes. I'm going to start with a bike tour of Greenwich today, visiting all the cafes and cake shops en route. raising obliviousness about obesity. And awareness that you're allowed to bike tour just for fun.


  1. Myself and two friends just did an end to end for fun. I agree that it's pretty hard to find a ride that isn't charity based. Lets hope that the Dunwich Dynamo never goes down the charity route

  2. I dunno - Poole to Goole, Barmouth to Yarmouth, you just need a bit of get up and go.

  3. On my first Dunwich Dynamo I distinctly remember some kids at a petrol station asking where we were going. The beach, we replied. "Is it for charity?" Our reply of "No, just for fun" was met with total confusion.

    People only cycle long distances to raise money for charities, you see.