Hi all

Sorry for the quiet spell – rest assured I haven’t been sat idle. Quite the opposite in fact. I’ve been busy putting plans into place for the 2013 Ride for the 96.

The 2012 ride this April was a 269 mile solo effort – though I was very grateful for riding company from a couple of good friends at various points over the 3 days.

Since the 2012 ride I’ve been contacted by many people asking if they can get involved in any rides that I organise in future years. The level of support has been quite humbling, and it means a lot that so many people would want to get involved.

So several months back I made the decision to open up the 2013 Ride for the 96 to more people. I wanted to allow others to show their respect and do something in memory of the 96, but also because it seemed a great way to raise more money than I would have been able to on my own.

Since then, I’ve been formulating plans for the 2013 Ride for the 96. I assessed several options for the ride, and worked with British Cycling to weigh up the pros and cons of each. The first idea, and probably the most obvious, was a meandering 96 mile route from Hillsborough to Anfield. However this idea was rejected on several grounds:

1. I’m organizing a mass cycling event. I’ve never organised anything of this scale before, so I have a desire to keep it simple. This includes all sorts of detail from route signage to feed stations and so on.

2. I’ve had so much interest from riders of all levels – people who have empathy for the reason the ride exists – that I wanted to plan an event that would cater for all cyclists, not just the more experienced. 96 miles would deter many riders, and this event isn’t about proving how far you can ride, it’s about a lot of people coming together as a cycling community to raise money for worthy charities and to pay their respect to 96 Liverpool FC fans who never came home from a football match.
I do plan to investigate the feasibility of running both a 96 km and a 96 mile route in 2014 and beyond – but refer back to #1 – keeping it simple for now.

3. Logistically, having a separate start and finish point is problematic. How are hundreds of riders and their bikes going to get back to their transportation in Sheffield after riding 96 miles to arrive at Anfield?

4. As much as I wanted to devise a route that included Hillsborough and Anfield stadiums, I must consider rider safety. Roads will not be closed, and having hundreds of riders in an organised event in two busy cities implies a much greater risk of incident.

5. Similarly, riding in the city just isn’t as enjoyable as getting out to the countryside, and I want to make the ride as enjoyable as possible, as well as make a route that does not deter those not experienced or comfortable with riding in city environments.

And so, the 2013 Ride for the 96 is going to be a 96 km cyclo-sportive, in association with British Cycling.

I am in the final stages of route planning and plan to publish it soon, along with details of how to enter through the British Cycling website.

Entry fees are still to be confirmed, but it is most likely that I will provide two levels of entry – a standard entry fee, and a reduced fee if you commit to raising a certain amount of sponsorship.

As with the 2012 ride, 100% of proceeds will go to charity.

50% of the funds raised will go to the Alder Hey Childrens hospital, 25% will go to Jamie Carraghers 23 Foundation to be allocated to youth projects and charitable causes on Merseyside, and 25% will go to the Steven Gerrard Foundation to be allocated to children’s charitable organisations and projects.

Stay tuned for more details soon!



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