A subtle route change to the 2015 Ride the North will see the North-east’s ultimate cycle challenge end in Stonehaven next summer.
Going back to the roots of the challenge, Stonehaven will be braced for an invasion of 850 cyclists on Saturday, August 29, as riders complete the 170-mile challenge which sets off from Inverness the day before.
Event organiser, Neil Innes explained: “The first Ride the North back in 2011 finished in Stonehaven, with a grand total of 37 cyclists completing the ride.
‘‘The route has changed every year, so this time we are going back to our roots by concluding the ride in Stonehaven.
“Since that first event, we have had such wonderful support from those in Stonehaven who have enthusiastically signed up to take part. Some of that enthusiasm has come from those who were established cyclists, but it has also been wonderful to see some many others who have been prepared to take this on as a challenge, and one that can really contribute to the adoption of a healthier lifestyle.”
The event seeks to showcase the North East of Scotland, with a route which has - at various times - featured castles, distilleries and plenty of great scenery.
As Neil explained, the return to Stonehaven in 2015 adds a new dimension to this,
He added: “Ride the North was created as an event which could open eyes about cycling in the North East of Scotland, as we have so many wonderful roads for cycling. The only missing dimension over the last couple of years has been the coast, so adding Stonehaven to this year’s route is the perfect way to get the seaside back into the event.”
Details of the finish in Stonehaven will be developed further over the coming months. Event organisers are working with partners in the town to ensure weary cyclists receive the warmest welcome when they cross the finish line.
Ride the North cyclists have raised over £750,000 for charity over the past four years and, with more riders being lined up for next year, the event looks set to go through the £1million barrier.
The partner charity for 2015 will be the Sandpiper Trust – a cause supported by riders from the Mackie Mammoths over the past two years. The Sandpiper Trust are dedicated to saving lives in rural Scotland, with the charities patron Gavin Hastings having dropped into support the Mackie riders last year.
Riders can take the ride the North challenge to support Sandpiper, their own charity or just for the fun of it.
Neil Innes is committed to ensuring that the event charity partners are a key part of Ride the North
He said: “We have ring-fenced places for Sandpiper fundraisers and are desperate to see the charity well supported, so that they can continue the great work they do, which has saved lives in Stonehaven as it has in so many places”.
Booking for the event will go live on December 2 on the Ride the North website www.ride-the-north.co.uk.