Cross-border cycle ride heads into Spalding

CAPITAL BIKE RIDE: Members of De Ronde van Cork Cycling Club from Ireland at Spalding Grammar School for the London Edinburgh London cycling challenge.
CAPITAL BIKE RIDE: Members of De Ronde van Cork Cycling Club from Ireland at Spalding Grammar School for the London Edinburgh London cycling challenge.
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Spalding has staged its own Tour de France this week after thousands of cyclists taking part in a 900-mile bike ride passed through the town.

Nearly 1,500 riders from more than 65 countries called in at Spalding Grammar School for a meal and some rest as part of the London Edinburgh London (LEL) Cycling Challenge.

Spalding Grammar School has been absolutely fabulous, all the staff have been really helpful, nothing has been too much trouble for them and they have made it very easy for us to promote this race

Jim Crew, in charge of the Spalding control centre, London Edinburgh London Cycling Challenge

The five-day event, which started on Sunday and ends tomorrow, has cyclists attempting to ride from London to Edinburgh and back in just over 100 hours.

Jim Crew, in charge of the Spalding control centre, said: “LEL takes place every four years, but this is the first time it’s been to Spalding.

“All the riders are amateurs, some will be sporting riders and fast, others will just be recreational riders.

“But most will have the desire to prove that they can ride from London to Edinburgh and it’s a beautiful setting for it.

“The fastest riders will get round the 1,400kms in 50 hours, but they all have to finish the ride by Friday lunchtime.

“Each control point has to be big enough to be able to accommodate 1,500 riders and the site management team at Spalding Grammar School has been absolutely fabulous.

“All the staff have been really helpful, nothing has been too much trouble for them and they have made it very easy for us to promote this race.”

Some of the countries to have sent riders to LEL include Brazil, Italy, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.

Robert Newcomer, a volunteer from Atlanta, USA, said: “I wanted to ride here but couldn’t get in so I decided to come and volunteer before going on to Copenhagen, Denmark, to cycle there.

“The sport is growing a lot, both in Atlanta and the USA in terms of competitive cycling and people riding to work, because the city government has made a big commitment to make it safe.”

London Edinburgh London takes place every four years, with organisers claiming that this year’s event is the “biggest ever - with more riders from more countries than ever before”.

Hannah Lord, originally from Horncastle but now living in London, said: “Me and my two friends thought it would be a great adventure, with the potential of getting the ride done in 100 hours.

“I’ve been to Spalding before because I used to compete in swimming events here, but this time it’s nice to ride here and around Lincolnshire where some of the roads are flat.

“All three of us are really sporty, I do triathlon and we’ve found that LEL is really well-organised, the volunteers are so nice and they go out of their way to do their best for you.”

Friederike Haberstroh, an LEL volunteer from Germany who is studying at Oxford University, said: “My dad is doing

LEL so I decided to volunteer and he was very happy to see me.

“I found out about the ride from my dad who met other people when he was doing the Paris-Brest-Paris race in France.

“I don’t cycle myself but people here are very kind and the parts of Spalding that I’ve seen seem very nice.”

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