Wheels in motion as big bike challenge launched

12.07.13

Wheels are in motion to get thousands of people across Birmingham and the West Midlands on their bikes with a unique and exciting new initiative supported by leading businesses, politicians and celebrities.

The 7-in-Seven Big Bike aims to remind people how much fun cycling is as a sport, a passtime, a means of transport, and to promote it as part of a healthy lifestyle suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

The event aims to inspire 7,000 people to collectively ride 77,777 miles (equivalent to three times round the world) by recording the miles they’ve pedaled on the 7-in-Seven website – www.7inseven.co.uk.  It also aims to raise more than £100,000 for the Help Harry Help Others charity.

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A group of high profile West Midlands cyclists, from TV, radio, sport and business, will also cycle from Zurich to Birmingham, travelling over 700 miles through seven countries in seven days.

A glittering launch event took place at Moor Street Station in Birmingham city centre this morning (July 12). There were 15 exercise bikes and two turbo trainers on the platform for passers-by to join in and start clocking up the miles towards the 77,777 target.

Among those taking part were ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley – who famously ran seven marathons in seven continents in seven days – Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett, cycling commentator Hugh Porter, Harry Moseley’s mother Georgie and many other supporters.

The ambitious initiative – which follows in the tyre tracks of Tour de France and Olympics cycling success for British cycling stars – is the brainchild of Tim Andrews, managing director of Hollywood Monster, Gus Lunt, business manager at GlaxoSmithKline, and well known broadcaster Phil Upton, of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson is supporting the cause. He said: “The 7-in-Seven cycle challenge is a great initiative, encouraging participation in sport while raising money for a fantastic cause. I hope many people in Birmingham and beyond get right behind it.”

Tim Andrews said: “I am incredibly excited at the prospect of encouraging thousands of people to rediscover the joys of cycling and all the benefits it brings to our sense of wellbeing. The initiative has taken the best part of 12 months to plan and I’m delighted that so many individuals and businesses have pledged their support for what we are trying to achieve.”

Phil Upton said: “The bicycle is used far less in our city than any other European city. We want to change this, in effect ‘bring the bike back to Birmingham’.”

Gus Lunt said: “We want to inspire the community of the West Midlands to dust down their bikes and participate in the largest charity bike event the city has ever seen.”

Supporters with children from St John's and St Peter's Academy in Ladywood.
Supporters with children from St John’s and St Peter’s Academy in Ladywood.

Pupils, staff and parents at schools across the city will be able to ride static bikes, cycling a mile at a time in a relay format, to contribute to the total miles. The aim is for schools to raise £1,000 each through sponsorship and donations. Further community engagement will take place with a corporate challenge, with static bikes located at city businesses to encourage employees to join in and raise funds.

A series of ‘Harry Hubs’ will also be set up at key locations such as shopping areas, sports stadiums and community buildings. Ambassadors and sports legends will encourage passersby to take part.

The core event, starting on September 23, will see a group of around 50 cyclists travel from Zurich in Switzerland, passing through Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland, before arriving at Harwich in the UK. They will then travel 160 miles to Birmingham.

The final day celebration ride will pass through Coventry and Meriden and is expected to attract more than 200 riders, all cycling the last 30 miles to arrive in Centenary Square on September 29 for a festival celebration.

The festival, organised by Birmingham City Council, will include cycle manufacturers and clubs, nutrition advice, sports stars including Olympians, music by Free Radio, and opportunities to tour the new Library of Birmingham.

Hugh Porter, cycling’s most famous commentator, said: “Any initiative to extend cycling in the West Midlands is a good thing and when it’s done whilst supporting a great Midlands based charity it’s even better. I wish whole-hearted support to Help Harry Help Others and I’m proud to be an ambassador for this event. I would urge cycling clubs, businesses, sport and the media to help ‘bring the bike back to Birmingham’.”

Supporters include Hollywood Monster, Westfield, Eze Group, Chiltern Railways, The Bottom Line, Birmingham City Council, Kukri, Pertemps, USN, Barques PR and football clubs Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City. For more information visit www.7inseven.co.uk and www.hhho.org.uk.

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