One year on from their successful 2019 cycling events, Chase The Sun celebrated the summer solstice with a generous donation of £1,000 to their charity partner, Life Cycle UK. Chase The Sun’s Olly Moore presented Life Cycle with a ceremonial cheque at their bike workshop in Bristol. Sadly, Chase The Sun 2020 could not go ahead due to COVID-19, but the 2019 events saw over 1,000 riders ‘chasing the sun’ by cycling coast to coast, East to West, in one day... And the team is eagerly anticipating their next rides on 19th June 2021.
What is Chase the Sun?
Chase the Sun simultaneously holds three endurance rides (in Northern England, Southern England and Italy) every year on the weekend closest to the Summer Solstice. They bring together cyclists from all walks of life - from trained athletes to determined novices, experienced long-distance adventure riders to urban cycle couriers on ‘fixie’ bikes. Last year they even welcomed their first tandem team! In contrast with your typical 'sportive', there is no timing or ranking, no medals, only the ultimate success of chasing the sun to view the sunset on the coastline.
Some Chase the Sun riders
The perfect partnership
Life Cycle was delighted to partner with an organisation whose philosophy is so similar to theirs: Cycling doesn’t have to be competitive, fast, macho or costly – it’s all about taking part in whichever way you can, with the simple aim of enjoying the freedom of two wheels. This philosophy is core to Life Cycle’s ‘Inclusive Cycling’ projects, which enable people with disabilities, mental illness, offenders, disadvantaged children and isolated older people to feel happier, healthier, and more connected to the local community. Read about Life Cycle’s impact here.
Life Cycle chased the sun too!
Last year, Life Cycle’s very own John R rode in the Chase the Sun North event with his wife and some friends. They had a fantastic day, taking in breath-taking scenery, meeting great people and managing to beat the sun to the Prestwick coastline! John is the Workshop Manager for Bike Back – one of Life Cycle’s projects. Bike Back teaches prisoners to refurbish broken and unwanted bikes as part of their cycle mechanics training. John teaches at HMP Bristol, helping prisoners prepare for and take their City & Guilds exam, so they leave prison with employable skills, self-belief and a nationally-recognised qualification. Watch a short video about Bike Back here.
Some members of Life Cycle's Chase the Sun cycling team
A generous donation
As a free-to-enter event in the UK, Chase The Sun is primarily funded by donations from riders. Its organisers Olly and Phil work tirelessly on a voluntary basis to put on these incredible rides, so Life Cycle was touched to receive a proportion of these donations to help continue their charitable work.
Becky from Life Cycle said:
“COVID-19 has presented huge challenges to Life Cycle and our service-users so this generous donation could not have come at a better time. It has been an honour to be Chase the Sun’s charity partner and to welcome Olly to our workshop. We hope to have Olly and Phil back before long when all our projects are back in action. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the Chase the Sun team and riders on behalf of everyone here at Life Cycle. Their generous support will make a massive difference.”
Weathering the challenges of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic forced both Life Cycle and Chase the Sun to cancel group rides and events: The 2020 Chase the Sun rides were cancelled and Life Cycle’s group rides for vulnerable people were suspended during the lockdown. This was a huge blow for both organisations – and of course the people who cycle with them. They were both able to find creative solutions, however. Chase the Sun organised “Chase the Sun Bingo” - a fun alternative challenge to get everyone out riding on the year's longest day. Chase the Sun riders old and new planned their own routes and headed out to tick off local landmarks!
Chase the Sun Bingo!
Life Cycle is now delivering a ‘Cycle Buddies’ scheme which enables vulnerable people who don’t have the skills or confidence to cycle alone, to be supported by a friendly ‘buddy’. Cycle Buddies are trained volunteers who regularly meet with a less-confident cyclist and support them to achieve their cycling goals. They help their buddy to discover local, cycle-friendly routes, develop their cycling skills and benefit from the friendly company and local knowledge. Click here to volunteer as a Cycle Buddy in Bristol.
The scheme is open to anyone who needs extra support to become a confident, independent cyclist – and Life Cycle is particularly targeting people who are on low incomes, struggling with their mental well-being or wanting to improve their physical health. Click here to find out more about the Cycle Buddies scheme. They are delighted to provide opportunities for people to get out and cycle, whilst their group rides are still suspended. Chase the Sun’s generous donation helps to keep the wheels rolling at Life Cycle, so they can continue delivering services like this.
A pair of Cycle Buddies
Olly from Chase the Sun said:
“We are delighted to support the amazing work of Life Cycle UK, a transformative charity which believes that cycling has a central role to play in improving individual lives, local communities and the environment. As we emerge from a hugely difficult few months, our thoughts are turning towards Chase the Sun 2021 and we are confident that our partnership with Life Cycle will be continue to go from strength to strength.”