TOUR OF WESSEX 2020
Three days of cyclosportive in lumpy old Wessex, based at Huish Episcopi, near Langport, Somerset? Or all three sportive in twenty-four hours? Someone has a challenge in mind, and that individual is Nick Bourne, founder of the Tour of Wessex and record holder for cycling Cairo to Cape Town.
The Tour of Wessex is a justly popular three day, three stage festival of sportive cycling. There are plenty of hills, but also the Somerset levels, and some of England's loveliest countryside. And getting involved also supports Safari Simbaz, a charity founded by Kenyan cycling legend David Kinjah, which helps young Kenyans on their way in life. David was a pro colleague of Nick's.
Each day offers two routes - long, between 98 and 120, and medium, between 60 and 75 - starting and finishing at Huish Episcopi, near Langport, in Somerset. There's plenty of challenge in each ride, but you'll note there's no 'short' option.
However, for those who want something even tougher, Nick has come up with the idea of running all three stages into one in a twenty-four hour endurance challenge. This will run from 7.30 am on Saturday, May 23rd, to 7.29.59 am on Sunday, May 24th. The sportives are off half an hour later, at 8.00, on each day. So day riders get the chance to see them off and back, and the twenty-four hour riders can have a quiet Sunday nap before the expected 1000 sportive riders return. Overall the twenty-four hour challenge covers 328 miles, with significant ascent and some technical descents - especially on Exmoor.
Nick Bourne said: “The Tour of Wessex and our new Wessex 24-hour challenge is going to be an incredible spectacle and I’m looking forward to being there to watch the finishers as they cross the line, while helping to raise much needed funds and awareness for Safari Simbaz. Earth Sports are donating a portion of the ticket price to this amazing charity which works with some of the Africa’s most disadvantaged young people to ensure that they can achieve stable, secure and happy futures in education, employment, or as professional athletes."
Safari Simbaz is a charity founded on Kinjah’s belief that cycling is more than having fun on a bike. “At the Simbaz we use the power of the bike to instil characteristics and skills which grow “champions” on and off the bike, skills which prepare anyone for a successful life. These include courage, strength, determination, discipline, dedication, teamwork and knowledge.”
Under the care of the Safari Simbaz, children are taught everything that relates to a bike; how to fix it, how to look after it, and how knowledge of the bike creates opportunities for jobs in the future, whether individuals go on to own a bike shop, become cycling instructors, or bicycle safari guides.
Safari Simbaz founder, David Kinjah, said: “We’re thrilled to work with Earth Sports who share our belief in creating opportunities to be active and engaged in something you love doing, which can have a profound impact on a person’s life. We are all about helping people to enjoy cycling, and we hope that we will inspire more people to take up the challenge of riding the Tour of Wessex or the Wessex 24-hour."