Ride For Precious Lives July 2021 is now sold out!
To grab your place for next year, please visit our Ride for Precious Lives 2022 page.
Ride for Precious Lives is our unique annual sponsored 205 mile, three day cycle challenge to raise money for short and precious lives. To celebrate our 30th anniversary of CHSW, the July 2021 event will see you riding from Bristol to St Austell for the first time!
You’ll cycle through challenging but breath-taking scenery and visit our three very special Children’s Hospices Charlton Farm near Bristol, Little Bridge House near Barnstaple, and Little Harbour near St Austell along the way. This exceptional event attracts cyclists who are committed to ride between 65 to 90 miles each day incorporating several hills the South West has to offer! (of course, switching the route around, it should be all downhill right?)
So, 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.
Set up your Just Giving page
Save yourself the hassle of collecting your sponsorship money. It's quick, easy, secure and the donations will come straight to us.
There's lots of fundraising ideas on our Be Incredible page. Whatever you can do, however you can do it, please join with us and make it incredible in whatever way you can. What will your incredible be?
What's included in your registration fee?
- 20 and 10 week training programmes
- Support from your community fundraiser to raise at least £1000
- Breakfast (porridge and pastries) at Charlton Farm 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 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 Little Harbour for you, family and friends on the Sunday
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.
Check out the training plans and event routes
The aim of this challenging three day ride is to visit all three Children's Hospice South West hospices while cycling through the beautiful Somerset, Devonshire and Cornish countryside admiring the views, enjoy the camaraderie with fellow riders and conquering the tough terrain!
The event commences with registration on the Thursday evening at Charlton Farm Wraxall, before riders set off from Charlton Farm on Friday morning.
Saturday offers cyclists the opportunity to take in a special visit to Little Bridge House.
Sunday offers cyclists the exciting and emotional last day and the huge sense of achievement and pride as you cycle towards our very special finish at Little Harbour, where friends and families can welcome you.
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.
It is likely to be warm and dry on this challenge, however we cannot rule out rain or extreme weather. We recommend you pack accordingly, below is a list of our recommendations to help make this an enjoyable, safe and comfortable challenge:-
- Helmet (compulsory, must be worn at all times) - With good ventilation and conforming to safety standards, your helmet should fit comfortably and be adjusted properly. Important - you will not be allowed to cycle without a helmet.
- Lightweight waterproof cycling jacket - We may catch a storm if we are unlucky. Ideally this jacket will fold down and easily fit into the rear pocket of a regular cycle jersey.
- 2 x 750ml water bottles - There will be plenty of opportunity to refill during each days cycling. We recommend you purchase some electrolyte tablets to replace lost salts through perspiration. - Hire Bikes will come fitted with 2 bottle cages.
- Pedals - If you are hiring a bike, YOU MUST BRING YOUR OWN PEDALS. Please ensure that your cycle shoes match your pedals. If you prefer to wear trainers, we will also supply flat pedals with all hire bikes.
- Cycle shoes - If you are not comfortable riding in cleats then any good quality trainer combined with flat pedals will be more than suitable. If you opt for a more specialist style it may cause you difficulty in case of having to replace. We advise bringing spare cleats as well as cleat covers for any time off the bike.
- Cycle clothing - Cycle specific padded lycra shorts recommended, lightweight wicking shirt (long sleeve is better for sun protection). Ideally a specific cycle jersey with 3 rear pocket and a full length zip.
- Arm protection - You may consider some white UV arm protectors as a block against the sun, just like arm warmers.
- Cycle gloves - We recommend fingerless cycle gloves with padding on the palms. These will increase your levels of comfort as well as offering a degree of added sun protection to a very exposed part of the body. They will also save your hands from bad cuts should you fall from your bike.
- Sunglasses - Cycle specific or sports glasses recommended, transition lenses or lenses that can be changed for clear lenses are recommended in case we have a dull day.
- Cycling specific snacks - If you have a favourite snack; dried fruits, nuts, flapjacks, energy bars/gels etc then we recommend you bring a small supply. Adventure Cafe will provide a range of carbohydrate dense snacks; bananas, cereal bars, crisps, salted biscuits etc.
- Mobile phone (in plastic bag) - Fully charged, with cycle leaders’ numbers saved; these numbers will be available 6 weeks prior to the event when full joining instructions are issued.
- Spare inner tube— Two each, minimum.
- Bike pump, multi-tool, and tyre levers
- Sunscreen, after-sun cream, insect repellent - Nothing worse than getting sun burnt on day one!
- Camera - Not to be used when cycling!
- Travel documents, passport, visas (if applicable)
- Travel insurance (compulsory), EHIC card - If you are unsure what you need please call us on 01823 444 246
- Wallet - Credit cards, cash in local currency
- Evening Clothing - You should bring a range of evening wear suitable for restaurants and relaxing. Our advice is to pack light and only take what you are likely to need. Temperatures will drop in the evening, so don’t forget a warm layer.
Cycling can be a dangerous activity if safety guidelines are not followed. Please read the following and apply these hints to your
- Always wear a helmet - buy a cycle specific helmet and wear at all times whilst on the bike. Your local bike shop should be able to help you buy the correct size. You must have a helmet with you for the event!
- Never ride with headphones in - It is important to be aware of your surroundings whilst on the bike, no one wants an unexpected lorry coming past. You will not be permitted to ride with headphones whilst on the event
- Never take both hands off at the same time - when cycling it is important to be in control at all times, things can go wrong very quickly—especially so if your hands are not on the bats
- Always follow the highway code - The best way to stay safe on the road is to follow the rules of the road
- Always tell someone where you are going - Let friend or family know where you are going and when you should be back.
- Ride with a buddy - Not only does riding with someone help to encourage you on your training and share experiences you may end up saving each others lives should something happen.
- Always take a charged mobile phone - You never know what may happen whilst out on the road, you may get a mechanical failure or have an accident—you will need to phone for help if this happens - Wrap you phone in a waterproof plastic bag for protection
- Slow down when entering urban areas - There are many more hazards in urban areas; car doors opening, traffic lights, pedestrians crossing etc—to stay safe control your speed, a bell or horn is also very useful!
- Wear glasses—Sunglasses can protect your eyes from stones and flies, never nice to have in the eye, especially if going down hill at speed - remember to swap for clear lenses if dark, dull or changeable visibility.
- Carry food and water - you should fit your bike with two bottle cages for water. Carry extra snacks and sweets in your jersey pocket, a sugar boost may just get you home.
- Carry medication - If you need medication you should carry this with you. (Inhaler / Epi-pen etc). If you have any severe allergies you should wear a medical alert bracelet or similar.
- Never stop on the road—If you do need to stop for whatever reason (puncture, waiting for someone) you should always get yourself and your bike into a safe place off of the road.
- Learn to fix a puncture - carry the tools to repair a puncture. These are the most common mechanical issues on bikes and not being able to fix one can leave you in a bit of a pickle —you should also fit your bike with highly puncture resistant tyres. We recommend continental gator-skins.
- Descend safely—Descending can be the most dangerous part of a ride. Keep your speed in control and brake well before the corner and not in the corner. Be extra careful if the roads are wet/damp or leaves are on the road as the surface will be come slippery.
- Space out—If you ride with a group, you should ensure you are well spaced out with plenty of braking distance between the person in front. Riders knocking each other off is the most common cause of accidents. Give anyone you are over taking a shout and avoid overtaking in corners or urban areas.
- Ride single file—We recommend always cycling single file—2 abreast at maximum. This should only be done on clear and wide roads so cars can easily overtake —Never cycle 2 abreast around a corner
- Plan your route—know where you are going and how well this should take, make note of towns / villages you will pass through. If you can avoid busy roads and junctions.