Dame Kelly Holmes will be taking part in the first ever Goatham's Great Kent Cycle Ride covering nearly 200 miles across the county in aid of Kent Sports Trust Foundation and Help for Heroes. The three-day event takes place in July and will see hundreds of cyclists get on their bikes and raise funds for charity, to inspire people to take up cycling.
Leaving the headquarters of AC Goatham & Son at Flanders Farm, Hoo, on the morning of Friday 14th July, the cyclists will begin their journey, taking in some of the more spectacular sights of Kent.
With one, two or three day options for cyclists, the event is open to all ages and abilities, giving even the most modest of bike riders the chance to be involved in something special whilst raising money for charity.
Double Olympic gold medal winner, Dame Kelly Holmes is taking part on all three days and is looking forward to being on two wheels, whilst giving something back to the local community: "I am very much looking forward to the Great Kent Cycle Ride. Having recently got into cycling myself, I have a new appreciation for Kent as it has some amazing routes and places to ride around."
"I am especially looking forward to the first day when the riders will arrive in Hildenborough. The Parish Council have kindly allowed the event to be hosted on the recreation ground and my Cafe 1809 will be providing refreshments for everyone."
"I wish the organisers the best of luck with the planning and developments and look forward to getting back on my bike in July"
Joining Dame Kelly Holmes on the three days will be Rob Smith from BBC South East Today and former Kent and England wicket keeper Geraint Jones MBE.
Having won the Ashes in 2005, Jones took part in the PCA Big Bike Ride last year and explained why he will be joining the Goatham's Great Kent Cycle Ride:
"As an ambassador of the Kent Sports Trust Foundation, I'm keen to give something back and I love getting on my bike, having been out two or three times every week recently."
"The challenge of riding around Kent is something I'm really looking forward to and starting on my 41st birthday shows that age is no barrier!"
"I'm glad it's not a race and it'll be great that we'll all have a shared experience of completing this epic challenge, whilst showing cycling is fun."
Chief Executive Officer of the Kent Sports Trust Foundation, Steve Wolfe, is urging people to sign up early to avoid disappointment: "We've got limited places left for the whole three days, so I'd urge anyone interested to get in touch with us as soon as possible."
"We're anticipating hundreds of cyclists taking part over the three days and we couldn't run this event without the support of our main sponsors AC Goatham & Son and their cycle loving commercial director Carol Ford who will also take part over the three days."
"They've been fantastic and the whole Kent community have shown there is a real appetite for our own showpiece cycling event in the county, with the likes of Shepherd Neame, Holiday Extras and Canterbury Rugby Club being gracious hosts for fuel stops."
"I'm looking forward to cycling alongside the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes and showing that cycling is a family friendly way of being active."
Carol Ford comments: “This is a fantastic initiative for AC Goatham & Son to be involved with and and we hope the hundreds of cyclists taking part both enjoy the event and help raise funds for two very well deserving organisations. We also hope it will encourage people to give cycling a go, especially if they are looking for a fun way to keep fit and healthy. We have farms across Medway and Kent and we look forward to cycling past some of them on route.”
The three days will see cyclists taking in the most picturesque parts of the county including Rochester Castle, the county town of Maidstone, Royal Tunbridge Wells, the iconic race circuit Brands Hatch, the cathedral city of Canterbury, the white cliffs of Dover and the market town of Faversham.
One of the driving forces behind The Great Kent Cycle Ride is Kent Sports Trust Foundation patron and Help for Heroes major fundraiser Steve Craddock.
According to the St Mary's Island-based former sapper, "The main aim of The Great Kent Cycle Ride is to create an event that is accessible for all, fun but challenging, and that raises some money for two fantastic charities."