Sponsored cycle raises vital cash for Connecting Kids project

A mammoth virtual bike ride between the Eden Project in Cornwall and Morecambe Bay saw riders cover a distance spanning almost half the globe and raise more than £1,600 for the Connecting Kids project.

Connecting Kids has seen the Lancaster and Morecambe community come together to provide almost 500 laptops, internet access and tailored tutoring for some of the region’s most disadvantaged pupils, to prevent the attainment gap between rich and poor widening even further during the Covid-19 crisis.

A voluntary consortium of education, public and third sector leaders joined forces to raise almost £130,000 for the project – supported through relationships built to develop Eden’s “Morecambe Bay Curriculum” – a unique educational programme for learners from the ages of 0 to 25 being delivered as part of its ambitious plans for the Bay.

Professor Robert Barratt, Eden Project North Chair of Education and Engagement at Lancaster University, came up with the 644km-sponsored ride as a way of supporting the Connecting Kids project.

He said: “This project is a response to the inequality of opportunity to access education caused by Covid-19. In these unprecedented times, we know that access to the digital society plays a fundamental role in ensuring children and young people can stay connected with their family, friends and teachers.

“Connecting people and places is vital so a sponsored ride felt like a fitting way to recognise those connections and help raise money for this extremely worthwhile project.

“We finished the initial ride on World Environment Day to draw attention to the world biodiversity crisis and the importance of Morecambe Bay’s global significance.

“The support has been brilliant and we are now reopening the website because people are now going to continue the ride to get from Morecambe back to Cornwall.”

To complete the huge distance, all rides either took place on indoor training equipment or followed strict government rules on exercise time allowed outside during the lockdown period.

Tale of the race:

· 36 riders from across the UK took part in the initial challenge

· Cyclists completed the distance on exercise bikes or by riding around their local area

· The fastest person to complete the challenge covered 730km in a single week, including the longest ride recorded, 202km

· The youngest rider was 16, the oldest was 60

· Riders participated from two of the UK’s highest-ranking domestic cycling teams, NOPINZ Symec Race Team and BikeStrong-KTM

· In one month of riding, the total distance covered was more than 20,000km, roughly halfway around the Earth.

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