Action Medical Research and Ben Swift present 2012 challenge rides

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Posted Thursday 29th September 2011 –

An exciting new programme of challenge rides will be showcased by Action Medical Research at the tenth annual Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham later this week (30 September – 2 October). The children’s charity, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012, will present 25 events taking place next year, including three new rides exclusively for women.

The charity’s cycling ambassador Geraint Thomas MBE is appearing at the show, while his Sky team mate Ben Swift will be supporting the charity by making a personal appearance on the Action Medical Research stand on Sunday 2 October.

Heading up the new Action Medical Research programme is the charity’s flagship London to Paris tour (18 – 22 July 2012), which offers a new women-only route for 2012. There are also three alternative routes, open to all, including a three-day, faster option for the most dedicated riders. The popular 300-mile ride sees 600 cyclists arrive in Paris in time for the final stage of the Tour de France, riding in convoy down the Champs Elysees the day before the professional cyclists head into the city.

Also new for women’s cycling is an extended DIVA100 ride series, spurred on by the success of the first DIVA100 event led by TV’s Davina McCall earlier this year. The ride series aims to appeal to female cyclists of all abilities, offering the choice of a hard and hilly 100km or a more gentle 50km option.

New overseas tour Ride L’Etape (6 September – 9 September 2012) provides the toughest challenge on the schedule, replicating stage 19 from this year’s Tour de France. The 116km ride through the French Alps tackles three of the Tour’s most notorious climbs – Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez. It promises stunning views, twisting hairpin bends and gruelling gradients, all timed to add to the Tour experience.

Also new is Morocco Bike or Hike (5 July – 9 July 2012), offering a mountain biking challenge in the Atlas Mountains or, for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, a trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the region’s highest peak, overlooking the Sahara Desert.

Challenges that are closer to home include the UK End 2 End, from Lands End to John O’ Groats in nine days, and the RIDE24 endurance relay, which sees teams race day and night for 24 hours at the classic Goodwood Motor Circuit.

The charity’s RIDE100 series also continues to offer a range of one-day regional UK rides in stunning cycling locations, including the Lake District, Peak District and Scotland’s Trossachs mountains. These graded events are all chip timed and offer both a 100-mile and 100km route option.

Team GB Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas MBE, Cycling Ambassador for the charity, says: “We take it for granted that most kids will learn to ride a bike one day, however sadly that’s not the case. Action Medical Research is funding vital research to help stop the suffering of sick babies and children. By taking part in one of the charity’s challenging cycling events, we as cyclists can help at the same time as doing something we love.”

Money raised by the charity through its cycling programme helps fund vital medical research into conditions affecting babies and children. Research currently being supported by Action Medical Research includes work around meningitis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and premature birth, as well as some very rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.