The fourth annual Jo Cox Way bike ride is celebrating the late MP’s zest for life and passion for people and communities.
The group of cyclists left West Yorkshire this morning (Wednesday 24 July) on a five-day trip to London.
Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, got on her own bike as she joined the 50 cyclists gathering at the Princess Mary Stadium, Cleckheaton – in Jo’s Batley & Spen constituency – at the start of the 288-mile journey, which symbolises Jo’s journey to Parliament.
They were joined at the send off by cycling legend Brian Robinson, 88, who was the first Briton to finish the Tour de France and the first to win a Tour stage. He excelled at his sport during the 1950s and 60s.
The group is set to cycle through many towns and villages as it heads from north to south – with overnight stops in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex – and will be joined by other cyclists for parts of the route before arriving at Bankside, Southwark, on Sunday 28 July.
Sponsored by PURE Business Group, the ride raises awareness and funds for the Jo Cox Foundation, which works to fly the flag for community spirit and support the causes that were important to Jo.
“I am delighted that the Jo Cox Way is happening again,” said Kim Leadbeater. “Having taken part in the whole five-day adventure last year, I was hugely inspired by the amazing group of people who came together and undertook the journey.
“We had cyclists from many different backgrounds, aged between 14 and 70. The camaraderie was fantastic and those taking part found it a great way of combining a physical challenge with the opportunity to meet new people and, of course, to remember Jo and her belief that we have ‘more in common’.”
The wheels on this pedal-powered initiative were set in motion by North Yorkshire businessman Sarfraz Mian three years ago, just two months after Jo’s murder.
He said: “It brings people together, with a shared goal of connecting communities across the UK as we celebrate the values that Jo championed. I never knew Jo, but I – along with my fellow cyclists – consider it a real privilege to be able to help continue the work that she cared so deeply about.
The event is a female-friendly ride and part of Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling. Members of the public are invited to cheer on the cyclists at the start of each stage and there is an open invitation for anyone wishing to show their support to join the ride for part of a day as it passes through their region.
On their arrival at Bankside, the cyclists will be greeted by members of community support groups, Jo’s family and the Mayor of Southwark.
To donate to the fund see here: The Jo Cox Way 2019