An Exeter cycle group has raised record amounts of money for its chosen charity this year.
The BGE Cycling Club has donated £2,018 to FORCE Cancer Charity from various activities throughout the last 12 months.
Club members gathered at the charity’s headquarters for their final Cadence Café ride of the year when they presented a cheque for £1,725, plus money raised on the day and topped up to match the year - 2018.
BGE – Beers, Gears and Engineers – was founded by employees at Howmet in Exeter in memory of Colin Hooker, who died from cancer.
The club has always supported FORCE, which offers face-to-face support for anyone locally affected by cancer.
“FORCE has been there for so many riders affected by cancer,” said club chairman Paul Brown. “We’ve had that connection from the beginning and the relationship has grown. We all know someone touched by cancer and it’s fantastic that we can do something to help.”
Sarah Daniels, FORCE Head of Income Generation, said: “I have had the pleasure of getting to know the BG&E cyclists for over 10 years now. I have seen the club grow, the ladies take up the gauntlet of cycling and the youngsters going from spectators to keen participants. It has been a wonderful journey together and I cannot thank each and every member enough for all the help, support and enthusiasm they have for the charity, our cycle events and for promoting what we do. Thank you so much.”
BGE offers cyclists the opportunity to take part in regular club, social and sportive rides and time trials. It has 110 members from all over Exeter and the surrounding are, a quarter of them women.
The club prides itself on encouraging one another to achieve their main objectives – improving their riding and fitness, enjoying the social side of club membership and to increase fundraising.
“I’m pleased that we’ve achieved our three clear goals this year and I’m particularly pleased with our support for FORCE,” said Paul.
The club hosts annual events such as the awards night, raffles and many other socials and recently arranged cycling trips to the French Alps and the Italian Dolomites.
They have regular club rides on Sunday mornings and in the evenings on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the year.
Its members always target rides that raise funds for FORCE – The Nello, The Smuggler and Autumn Series rides. They are the biggest club represented at all three of those events.
“Everyone in the club has ridden the Nello as their first 100-mile challenge and they all take part in The Hooker Ride, our annual ride in memory of Colin,” said Paul. “We all cycle for different reasons – to keep fit and enjoy ourselves but it’s fantastic to be able to ride challenges and give something back to a charity that works in an area that affects us all.”
Members also play key roles in helping with organisation at FORCE events, lending a hand in setting up ahead of The Nello and marshalling at other events, sometimes either side of riding.
During his two years as chairman Paul has encouraged members to increase the number of Cadence Café rides.
These are often hosted by members. The cyclists chip in by providing refreshments including delicious home-baking and the Gibbins family from Gibbins Quality Meats provide barbecue food.