Riv’s Riders 2016 – Penzance to Warrington Cycle Challenge

Riv’s Riders was the brainchild of Stella, Riv’s older sister, who explains below how she came up with such a fantastic idea!

“I had the idea for the Riv’s Riders challenge back in April, after our families had had to disperse again following several memorial events for River and Viola Beach in the months before, which had been incredibly difficult.

I decided I wanted to do something big in River’s name that I could channel energy into and have as a positive focus, and I wanted to create a team challenge that other family members and friends could get involved in if they wished. I originally envisaged 6 or so of us taking part.

The River Reeves Foundation was in the process of being launched, so we had the potential to give the fund a great kick-start through our fundraising – as such I wanted this to be a significant challenge.

It was also important that Penzance, where River lived with his mum and siblings in the years before moving to Warrington, be part of the idea. It was his second home after he moved and he visited his many family and friends there regularly.

The cycling idea formed from there. I had a bike but had never trained, but I have several keen cyclist friends who I could scope out the challenge with.

Penzance to Warrington on a bike is 410 miles. Taking in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

We decided on 5.5 days in total (Monday to Saturday), giving us an average of 75 miles per day and a total climb of 22,000ft!

The Riv’s Riders core team ended up being 11 of our family and friends, with additional part-riders and a fantastic relay team of support drivers, including Bily Joe, the touring River Reeves Foundation press office.

There were certainly highs and lows along the way…We started with treacherous weather, we lost members of the team, and found them again, we had over 20 punctures, 2 split tires, a broken chain, a completely broken bike, a broken axle on the press office caravan, a couple of falls (luckily no very bad ones), several near-misses with traffic, a HUGE number of uphills and some great descents. We relied on the kindness of strangers, we met wonderful people along the way. We laughed and cried and were more tired than we had ever been in our lives.

Riv’s Riders raised a net total of £14,599 for the River Reeves Foundation and the Viola Beach and Craig Tarry Memorial Fund.

Considering our initial (and I thought ambitious) target of £5,000 this was extraordinary and very overwhelming.

The challenge is something none of the team will ever forget. It brought us together on an epic adventure; we overcame problems, battled the elements, pushed our physical limits and forged an unbreakable bond.

River was with us all the way and I know he’s so proud of what we achieved. It won’t be the last Riv’s Riders challenge – so bring it on!”

Meet the full team of riders and support: https://rivsriders.wordpress.com

Also, check out the official challenge facebook page to relive the adventure day by day!

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