Nearly fourteen hundred cyclists took part in the biggest fundraising event of the year for FORCE.
The Nello bike ride is expected to raise around £90,000 for our charity, which works locally to support anyone affected by cancer.
The riders tackled either 100 or 55 mile routes in the wettest weather in the event’s 16-year history.
The ride started and finished at Topsham Rugby Club with everyone pedalling to Tiverton where the course split.
The 100-mile challenge climbed on to Exmoor via Dulverton and Simonsbath before the turn for home, passing through South Molton and Crediton.
The shorter route was no easy ride either, taking riders up the aptly named Long Drag towards Nomansland then heading across country to Morchard Road where the two routes converged again.
Exeter Pilates instructor Adele Stickland tackled the 55 mile ride for the first time.
“Sunday’s event was wet yet exhilarating! It is always so good to see so many cyclists on the roads of Devon raising the profile of unsteady, wobbling cyclists and a fantastic charity – FORCE. Everybody’s effort were heart-warming – cake makers, sandwich makers, marshals, medal hander outers. It is truly a community effort and event,” she said.
Retired businessman Geoff Humphries from Sidmouth was also making his Nello debut on the shorter route.
“A wonderful day out for an oldie, well organised and great fun even for the inexperienced,” he said.
Formerly known as the Century Cycle Challenge, the ride started in 2000, in memory of former Topsham restaurateur Nello Ghezzo.
Another amazing year
Liz Hodges, owner of Route 2 cycle shop in Topsham said after completing her third 100-mile ride: “Today was windy and rainy and a little bit cold you just stop at lots of cake stops which is great. Nello was a good friend and I finally plucked up the courage to do it three years ago. I really, really enjoyed it, lots of friends do it and it’s great that it raises such a fantastic amount of money for FORCE and the legacy of Nello and all my friends.
Event organiser Sarah Daniels, Head of Fundraising at FORCE Cancer Charity, summed up the day.
“2015 was another amazing year. Despite battling with the rain, wind and fog on Exmoor all the cyclists remained spurred on by their charity efforts. The volunteers at the refreshment stops worked so hard to ensure they greeted the cyclists with a warm smile, oodles of food and steaming cups of tea and coffee! £55k has already been raised so far and we expect this figure to rise to £90k over the coming weeks. Well done to everybody who took part and thank you so much to all our supporting partners and of course and superb volunteers – definitely a day to remember.”