More than 70 riders aged from 18 to 76 will cycle 280 miles from Yorkshire to London in July to remember Jo Cox, who was murdered six years ago.
It’s the biggest turnout yet for the annual Jo Cox Way ride, now in its seventh year, which aims to keep the former Batley & Spen MP’s legacy alive by flying the flag for community spirit and supporting causes that were important to her.
The mixed ability cyclists will set off on Wednesday 27 July from the Princess Mary Stadium in Cleckheaton in the constituency and ride to Buxton in Derbyshire.
The riders will arrive in London on Sunday 31 July, with further overnight stops in Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, Milton Keynes and Uxbridge.
Kim Leadbeater MP, who was elected to represent her sister’s old constituency last year and has taken part in every ride since 2016, said: “The Jo Cox Way ride is a great chance for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to connect and engage with one another.
“The last two years have been tough for us all, with so many people affected by Covid, lockdowns and the increasing cost of living.
“Despite all this, it’s brilliant to see people’s commitment to making a difference has grown stronger, with cyclists joining together for a seventh time to celebrate the fact that we have ‘far more in common than that which divides us’ – words from Jo’s maiden speech in Parliament.”
The Jo Cox Way was started in 2016 by North Yorkshire businessman and keen cyclist Sarfraz Mian BEM. He said: “It’s fantastic that in our seventh year we have more riders than ever.
“Some are taking part for the first time, and some are experienced cyclists who’ll help them along, but I’m sure they’ll all form lasting friendships with people of different ages, from different communities, through an amazing shared experience.
“Times are tough, but we want to do our bit to bring business to local hotels, cafés and pubs as we cycle from the place Jo loved most to where she worked, in London.
“I never met Jo, but her determination to create a fairer, kinder world for all really touched me in 2016 and is more relevant than ever now.”
The Jo Cox Way has taken place every year since Jo’s murder in June 2016, raising funds for the Jo Cox Foundation, although, in 2020, when the pandemic halted original plans, cyclists took part in a virtual ride instead, getting on their bikes and pledging miles.
Ms Leadbeater, added: “We introduced this model when Covid changed our plans, and it was really successful. We set a target of 25,000 miles – the distance around the globe – and riders really rose to the challenge, cycling more than 30,000.
“Last year we set a new target of 50,000 miles- twice around the world- and were astounded to see families, community groups and individuals smash it- clocking up 93,000 miles between them! Anyone can join in by doing a short family ride or taking on their own personal physical challenge.”
All the places for this year’s ride are now taken, but cyclists who want to join the virtual challenge can here.
Anyone wishing to sponsor the riders can donate using the Jo Cox Way’s fundraising page, here.