More than 70 avid cyclists of all ages and abilities took up an opportunity to cycle alongside professional athletes from the Tour Series champions JLT Condor team on Saturday 3rd June.
JLT Condor teammates Russ Downing and Graham Briggs were split among three cycling groups as they travelled from St Hugh’s Hospital in Grimsby through Waltham and East Ravendale, past Swinhope, over to Ludborough and then through Tetney on the way back to Grimsby.
The 53km ride was organised by Dave Evans from NEL Lindsey Go-Ride, former JLT Condor teammate Dean Downing and Gary Allington, a keen cyclist and Health Promotion Officer at HMT St Hugh’s Hospital.
Gary said: “It was great to see so many people taking part in our first Ride with the Pros of 2017. Events like this provide an opportunity for people to improve their cycling skills or push themselves to cover a longer distance while being encouraged by professional athletes.
“Our community work is really important to us, and alongside funding research and supporting local charities we invest in a number of initiatives to encourage people to foster a healthier lifestyle.”
In 2007 the Healthcare Management Trust (HMT), which runs HMT St Hugh’s Hospital, became the healthcare partner of what is now JLT Condor. Inspired by the professional cyclists, HMT established its own academy to champion and support emerging junior cycling talent in 2015.
In the last few years the HMT Junior Academy has supported a number of junior athletes as they have completed on the British Cycling National Junior Series and European stage. Several of the HMT Academy cyclists joined the ride on Saturday.
The trust also supports NEL Lindsey Go-Ride, the younger rider section of the Lindsey Roads Cycling Club, many of whom also took advantage of the opportunity to cycle with the pros.
Victoria Patch (13) from NEL Lindsey Go-Ride said: “I had a great experience riding with the pros – it was hard and tiring but extremely enjoyable. It was lovely coming back from an exhausting 33-mile ride to a delicious spread laid on by HMT St Hugh’s.”
Katie Ormond (12) from NEL Lindsey Go-Ride said: “I really enjoyed the ride and the chance to meet with more experienced and faster riders.”
Gary concluded: “It was such a great turnout this weekend that I’m already planning our next event.”
For more information about the Ride with the Pros sessions or to get involved in the activities supported by HMT St Hugh’s please visit http://hmthospitals.org/st-hughs/community/ and look out for future events on Facebook and Twitter.
The next Ride with the Pros will take place on Saturday 30th September. Members of the public interested in taking part should sign up via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hmtsthughshospital/ when the event opens for free registration.