The upcoming Ride to the Rugby event will see a group of 50 brave cyclists – some of whom have only recently started cycling! – cycle 217 miles from Calais to Paris. They’ll reach their destination just in time to watch the Six Nations Wales v France match on 18th March!
The challenge begins on 14th March, when the team will travel by coach from Cardiff to Calais. On 15th March, they’ll commence the first leg of the cycle, starting with a 77-mile ride from Calais to Arras.
On 16th March, the riders will go from Arras to Amiens and, the next day, they’ll make their way from Amiens to Paris – their destination! To round off the trip, the riders will spend the following day in Paris with time to explore and then watch the Wales v France match at the stadium.
The Thomas Meacham Award
Ride to the Rugby is a very special event that honours a very special little boy.
James Meacham is the official ambassador of Ride to the Rugby and has already completed the challenge three times! His son, Thomas, was cared for by Tŷ Hafan. He died in 2019 when he was nine years old.
In Thomas’ memory, the Thomas Meacham Award is given to the Rider’s Rider of the challenge.
James said: “I have to be honest, I never thought I’d become a cyclist! I first heard of Ride to the Rugby while we were staying at Tŷ Hafan with Thomas, some time in 2018. Having never been a cyclist but an average gym goer and very part-time runner, I thought it would be a great challenge and convinced my mate and my cousin it was a good idea.
“So, we all bought bikes and started training. It soon became apparent that road cycling is hard work! A few training rides with the wider team, lots of winter miles, and January 2019 soon arrived. The buzz as myself and the other 39 cyclists departed from Cardiff was something else.
“The weather was really against us on that day, but we ploughed on as a team and got there. The rides are so well organised both on and off the road, from the feed stops and support van to the team captains who keep everyone safe and moving (and upright), that it’s a real feel-good adventure!
“After a ferry trip and more cold weather riding, we arrived in Paris! The atmosphere was electric, with rugby fans cheering us on as we rode the same cobbles as the Tour de France – that feeling will stay with me for a long time. Video calling my wife, Sarah, and son, Thomas, in the hospice brought a few tears.
“So, based on that wonderful experience, it didn’t take much for me to sign up for the Cardiff to Dublin Ride to the Rugby in 2020. Once again, we had a few group training rides and it speaks volumes that this time we had an unofficial Team Thomas of about ten participants, rather than three the year before.
“That trip was different on an emotional level because, seven months before, Thomas passed away peacefully in the hospice. So, my reasons for doing it were slightly different – from being a user of Tŷ Hafan to wanting to ensure they can continue to support families like mine.
“The highlight of that trip was being asked if we’d be OK with the team captains organising a Thomas Meacham Award and asking me present it to the Rider’s Rider of the tour.”
It would be brilliant to see you take on the Ride to the Rugby 2023 challenge! Interested? Sign up here.