On Sunday 24 April, 437 cyclists put their strength to the test in the glorious spring sunshine at the legendary Hemel Hillbuster.
The hugely popular cycling event offered a choice of 100k, 60k and a brand-new 25k route across stunning Chiltern Hills and some of the most challenging climbs across Herts, Beds and Bucks.
Organised by the charity, DENS, and in association with British Cycling, the sportive attracted cyclists and clubs from the south east and further afield (including Sheffield!), who helped raise more than £22,000 so far – with the total expected to rise in the coming days. Every penny of this will go towards helping rebuild the lives of local people facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion.
Maggie, aged 75, took on the event’s new 25k route alongside a women’s group of cyclists as part of British Cycling’s Breeze initiative. When asked what she most enjoyed about the event, she said: ‘I think it’s doing it with other people. Also, it’s a seriously good charity. I come across them quite a lot, and they’re very good, so I’m happy to support them.’
The ride started and finished at a vibrant event village in Hemel Hempstead’s Gadebridge Park, where event sponsors, Berkhamsted’s Lovelo Cycleworks, supported cyclists with a mobile bike repair service and had special prizes up for grabs with a bike balance challenge.
Tim Warrell, Director at Lovelo Cycle Works, also took part in the 100k ride. He said: ‘Lovelo is a community based bike shop and a local charity like DENS is really important for us to support. This event is great for camaraderie. Riding with your mates and experiencing going through a bit of hard times for a good cause is a really worthwhile thing to do.’
Mad Squirrel, the Hemel-based brewery, were also at the event to refresh thirsty cyclists with cold post-ride beverages.
Watford FC and their commercial partner, Alan Day Group, showed their support for the event by advertising on match-days and donating fantastic auction prizes, including a hospitality experience for two and a signed home shirt. Bidding is open until Sunday 1 May at www.jumblebee.co.uk/dens-hillbuster-auction.
Wendy Lewington, DENS CEO, said: ‘It was truly special to see so many passionate cyclists come together to support our charity. The event’s great success wouldn’t have been possible without them, or the spirited efforts of our volunteers and corporate partners who helped ensure a safe and enjoyable day for all.’
An early bird offer for the next Hemel Hillbuster, taking place on Sunday 14 May 2023, will be available soon.
Upcoming DENS fundraising events include the community-focused Go Yellow Week from Monday 20 June and the popular annual Sleepout on Friday 25 November.
For more information about DENS, please visit www.dens.org.uk.