Ride for Precious Lives is our unique annual sponsored 205 mile, 3 day cycle challenge to raise money for short and precious lives. Riding from St Austell to Bristol, you’ll cycle through challenging but breath taking scenery and visit our three very special Children’s Hospices Little Harbour near St Austell, Little Bridge House near Barnstaple, and Charlton Farm near Bristol along the way.
This exceptional event attracts cyclists who are committed to ride between 65–80 miles each day incorporating several hills the South West has to offer! Are you up for the challenge?
Cyclists who have taken part have been inspired by the children and families they met along the way at our three hospices, together with the care team and family members that take part too - and it is this that makes the Ride for Precious Lives a truly unique cycle event and a must do on any cyclist’s calendar.
Latest event news
Kindly sponsored by
Fundraising is a fantastic way to get involved with Children's Hospice South West and provides us with an essential source of income. Without the wonderful support of our fundraisers we would not be able to continue offering the wide range of vital services that we currently offer to our families and children.
Your registration fee covers the cost of your participation in this event but your sponsorship will help us to deliver our promise to ‘make the most of short and precious lives across the South West’. For our Ride for Precious Lives event we suggest a sponsorship target of £1000.
Fundraising ideas and support
We have a dedicated community fundraising team who are here to support you, and we have lots of really fun ideas to raise money to help you smash your own personal fundraising targets.
What's included in the £230?
- 20 and 10 week training programmes
- Support from your community fundraiser to raise at least £1000
- Breakfast (porridge and pastries) at Little Harbour on Friday morning
- Two nights’ accommodation in a hotel including fully cooked breakfasts
- Evening meal and entertainment at each hotel.
- Pub lunch each day you cycle.
- Two water stops each day you cycle with homemade cakes and hot / cold drinks.
- Beautiful scenery
- Fully supported crew, Arrowhead Management, that will check bikes every evening and provide first aid, mechanics and carry luggage for you all weekend
- Bespoke Ride for Precious Lives cycling jersey
- CHSW cheer team and support all weekend!
- Finish line party at Charlton Farm for you, family and friends on the Sunday
There are limited availability single occupancy rooms available for a supplement of £40.00. All other rooms are twin/triple share. If you would like to share a room with someone you know you can enter their name on the registration form when you apply. Otherwise we will allocate your room with another participant.
Team cycle jersey
Our bespoke cycling jerseys are crafted from a professional Qwick-Dri™ fabric; the moisture wicking properties provide year-round comfort as it moves chill-inducing perspiration away from the skin, keeping your body warm and dry. The Lycra© fibre we used in these custom jerseys can stretch, but has excellent recovery performance so that garments can keep their shape for years. These jerseys include a 1cm silicone gripper on the back hem, zip covers at the top of the jersey, elasticated cuffs, a reinforced curved back pocket with three open pockets and an extra zipped pocket, plus reflective stitching in the side panels for great visibility.
The Ride for Precious Lives bespoke jersey is yours as a thank you for taking part in the challenge. You will receive this jersey as you register on the Thursday evening before the event.
Training cycle jersey
To keep you company whilst training and assist with your fundraising, we also have a CHSW cycling jersey available to buy, priced at £18.00.
The aim of this challenging three day ride is to visit all three Children's Hospice South West hospices while cycling through the beautiful Cornish, Devonshire and Somerset countryside admiring the views, enjoy the camaraderie with fellow riders and conquering the tough terrain!
The event commences with registration on the Thursday evening St Austell, before riders set off from Little Harbour on Friday morning. The first day will offer a challenge to our cyclists as you tackle the hills to ride out of Cornwall towards Bideford for our first nights stop.
Saturday offers cyclists the opportunity to take in a special visit to Little Bridge House before they set off on a cycle taking in breath taking views across Exmoor as we travel towards our overnight stop in Taunton.
Sunday offers cyclists the exciting and emotional challenge of Cheddar Gorge as they cycle on with a huge sense of achievement and pride towards our very special finish at Charlton Farm, where friends and families can welcome you.
St Austell, Cornwall to Bideford, Devon - 75 miles
After departing from Little Harbour Hospice you will soon be thrown into all that Cornwall has to offer! Quiet country roads, stunning scenery and short punchy climbs.
Passing through Bodmin town you will then slowly climb up onto Bodmin Moor for a well earned water stop in Blisland village at 20 miles.
You then continue across Bodmin Moor skirting Crowdy reservoir and reaching the well deserved lunch stop at The Wilsey Down, Hallworthy after 35.5 miles.
After lunch you will head across the border into Devon and on towards Bradworthy for our second water stop of the day at 59 miles.
With a couple of remaining hills you then have 8 miles down hill into Bideford and your hotel at 75 miles (save an ounce of energy for the 300m hill up to the hotel!)
Bideford, Devon to Taunton, Somerset - 69.5 miles
On the second morning you all leave en mass for a gentle warm up ride to Little Bridge House, our second hospice. After a brief stop for photos and to meet some of the staff and children you head off for Barnstaple, and steel yourself for the long climb up onto Exmoor.
Water stop one in Bratton Fleming at 17.5 miles is a hugely welcomed rest to break up the climb. Continue up onto Exmoor and all the hard slog is worth it for the sense of achievement and the beautiful views.
Enjoy mile after mile of the Exmoor views before descending to The Anchor at Exebridge for lunch at 42 miles.
After lunch you are left to tackle the Somerset hills through to Taunton, stopping at our second water stop in Appley at 53.5 miles.
From then on it's almost entirely downhill to your hotel and a well earned rest at 69.5 miles.
Taunton, Somerset to Wraxall, North Somerset - 59 miles
After two days of hills in Devon and Cornwall, the morning ride on the Somerset levels is very well received! Meander your way through quiet lanes, with a couple of hills just before your first water stop in Westhay at 25 miles.
The next stage takes you through the incredible Cheddar Gorge, the Gorge is always one of the highlights of the trip and at 4km long with an average gradient of 5% it’s quite the obstacle to overcome, so try and enjoy it!
After completing this incredible climb lunch is only a few miles ahead at the Castle of Comfort Inn at 42.5 miles.
Smiles all round as the final leg of the journey is now upon you with a ride past Chew Lake, through Chew Stoke, a couple of hills on the way to Winford and Long Ashton.
Finally the last hard push up Wraxall Hill and the finish at Charlton Farm, our final hospice, at 59 miles for hugs, smiles and perhaps even a few tears!
Do I really have to train?
Yes! Cycling Challenges are designed for people of average fitness as long as you are prepared to train. You should start training several months before the event, and the attached programmes will help you to do this.
How you start training for a long distance bike ride depends largely on your present fitness level, age and the amount of cycling you have done in the past. There are various ways to train for your challenge, below and in tabulated form are various training regimes that can be adapted to fit into your personal lifestyle.
People who have not ridden a bike for several years or indeed at all will have to start their training regime at least four months in advance of their trip. Mileage should be built up gradually to avoid injury and over-exercise, and to establish a good base fitness on which to build the stamina levels you will need on a cycle challenge.
A cycle ride every other day should be attempted for the first four weeks and the mileage should be between 5 and 10 miles, there is no need to over stretch the ride by pushing a gear that is too difficult, or riding as fast as you can, this can come later.
From the outset you should attempt to develop your cadence, which is the speed at which your legs rotate (RPM), this will improve your aerobic capacity meaning your heart and lungs will grow stronger and be less stressed when cycling or exercising.
To develop your cadence you should select the gear that feels most comfortable when you are cycling on whatever gradient. If you can keep a steady RPM of around 60 - 70 most of the time this would greatly aid the speed at which you become cycling fit, and will increase your strength and stamina which you can then build on.
Before you know it you will find yourself being able to push harder gears while maintaining the same RPM. After you have become comfortable with your cadence and riding position, it will be time to start stepping up the mileage. For the next 4 weeks you should attempt to ride 15 - 20 miles three times a week, with a Sunday ride every other weekend of about 25 miles.
By now you should be feeling really confident and starting to enjoy the sport of cycling. In the next two weeks it would be worth maintaining the same schedule but now starting to ride 20 - 25 miles three times a week with an alternate Sunday ride of 30 miles.
The following two weeks should see the introduction of an extra day’s cycling into your training, this day’s mileage may only be around 10 - 15 miles but it will help you get a feel for cycling day after day. It would now be a good idea to step up the Sunday rides to three a month with a mileage of 40 miles.
In the final three weeks your daily mileage should be around 30 miles on each outing and any Sunday rides should break 50 miles. A week before you leave for the trip you should wind down and perhaps attempt three short 10 - 15 mile rides.
This category might include anyone who has been cycling intermittently over the years, perhaps by cycling to work in the summer or regular Sunday rides with the family. As you will have a degree of basic fitness and confidence built up from previous cycling, three months or so of training should prepare you for the ride.
The first four weeks should be spent introducing a regular programme into your training and concentrating on your cadence (as above), which will help develop your strength for the sustained ride. A mileage of 15 miles three times a week combined with alternate Sunday rides of 30 miles should be attempted for the first month.
The second lot of four weeks should see you feeling stronger and confident to increase the mileage; your cadence should be fluent and comfortable, and the three rides a week should be covering about 25 miles each and the Sunday rides up to 40 miles.
The penultimate three weeks should see the introduction of a fourth training ride every week, these four rides should be around 30 miles in length with three Sunday rides a month of 50 miles or more. You should by now be feeling comfortable with all these distances as long as you don’t push yourself too hard.
The final week should be spent winding down with three 10 - 15 mile rides and the confidence that you know you can complete and enjoy the 10-day ride ahead of you.
This category would include people who cycle regularly throughout the year whether it be commuting 20 miles or more to work a day or training seriously with weekend races and time trials. People within this category should already have a good training schedule and be amply fit to tackle a cycle challenge, though they should probably step up the training for long days riding.
People included within the commuting bracket may find it a good idea to step their weekly mileage up by cycling a longer route to work, or doing a brief morning or evening ride and by also doing regular weekend rides of around 50 miles or more.
Fitting training into your busy life
The programmes here are only a rough training guide. Obviously with work, family and fundraising commitments you may not always be able to achieve what we have set out for you. However in order to get close to achieving the training it is very important to organise your time properly. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you maximise your training, even if you feel you have no time outside work.
- You must organise your week to make time to get out to do some training.
- Get up an hour earlier and go out for a quick cycle with some stretching in the morning before work while it is still light.
- If you can cycle to work, do so. If you can’t cycle the whole distance between work and home, why not cycle to a station/bus stop in between home and work and then continue your journey on public transport. You will obviously need to be happy that you are able to leave your bike in a safe and secure place.
- Use your lunchtimes to take regular brisk walks or cycle around your work area.
- Find a steep set of stairs i.e. five floors of a department store/office block and climb them five times, at least three times per week.
- Swimming, squash, badminton, fast walking and any other sport will also help get you prepared.
- Joining a leisure centre is a good idea as the local fitness instructors may well be able to design a programme specifically for you. Most good gyms have exercise bikes, or even better spinning classes, where you can clock up mileage more safely and comfortably. But do try to cycle as much as possible in ‘real’ conditions. The more you can train in similar conditions to your challenge, both in terms of terrain and weather, the better.
- It is important at weekends to get into some hilly areas to experience cycling on different surfaces and to experience the hills and of course the weather.
- You should make the time to cycle on some consecutive long days: an isolated Sunday ride does not have the same effect as two consecutive days.
Nothing will prepare you for the trip better than actually cycling.
You may not stick to the training guide exactly but you need to keep it in mind and to do regular exercise every week according to the guide. You will enjoy this experience far more if you are physically fit, indeed, without training you may not be able complete this challenge.