Middlesex seamer James Harris has completed a gruelling five day charity cycle ride that covered 360 miles of hilly terrain in England and Wales.
Harris was among 60 riders who took part in Big Bike Ride 3 which aims to raise £125,000 for the Professional Cricketers’ Association Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust. Big Bike Ride 3, which followed similar events in 2013 and 2015, started at Edgbaston in Birmingham last Friday and finished at the SSE SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff last night having taken in some breath taking scenery and punishing hill climbs on the route which included the Derbyshire Peak district, Shropshire, Malvern Hills, Forest of Dean and Welsh mountains.
During the ride the cyclists climbed a total of more than 26,000 feet and visited 16 community cricket clubs in Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Wales and three county headquarters grounds.
The peloton also included England players Marcus Trescothick, Tim Bresnan, Michael Vaughan, Geraint Jones and Matthew Maynard, the father of Tom, the Surrey and former Glamorgan batsman who died in tragic circumstances in 2012.
“It’s been great to spend time with Matt and other people that I played a lot of cricket with and also people that the PCA have supported. You don’t get better a feeling than this although there are parts of my body that have no feeling at the moment,” said PCE Chief Executive and former Worcestershire all-rounder David Leatherdale.
“But the camaraderie of people on the ride, who are already asking: when are we going to do the next one? shows what they think about it.
“We have done nearly the height of Everest in total climbs over the five days – between 26,000 and 28,00 feet, which is a fantastic effort.
“I think everyone will look back and say; it was hard work, it was a challenge but, boy, I will remember it for the rest of my life.”
Although Big Bike Ride 3 is over, the fund-raising continues. Donations can be made to support the riders until November 30 with the total raised, with Gift Aid, already over £79,000.
“Hopefully everyone will now be saying; I’ve now done it, you didn’t believe me three months ago and so hopefully that will add to the total. If we can add tens of thousands of pounds to it, it will benefit both charities,” Leatherdale said.
Maynard, the former Glamorgan captain, was one of the elite group who completed all three Big Bike Rides and who found this the toughest yet.
“A number of the lads have done all three but they said that this was the hardest. Completing it gives you a sense of achievement. You have to dig deep and find something that you didn’t think you had,” Maynard said.
“That’s what life is about. We have had to go through it as a family but in sport it doesn’t always come easy. There are times when you have to dig deep.
“This ride has given business people who have so kindly supported us an understanding of what sports people have to go through throughout their careers. You have to dig deep and find your resolve and think the Big Bike Ride epitomises that.”
Big Bike Ride 3 was generously sponsored by Full-Time Cover insurance and Sanderson Contracts. All proceeds will be shared between the PCA Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust.
The PCA Benevolent Fund was set up in 2000, and supports past and present cricketers, and their immediate family members in times of hardship and upheaval.
The Tom Maynard Trust was set up in 2012 and supports aspiring young sports people in a number of ways including sponsorship of the PCA’s annual Rookie Camp.
Cricketers who took part Big Bike Ride 3: Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire and England), Dan Cherry (Glamorgan), Alan Fordham (Northamptonshire), David Fulton (Kent), Gavin Hamilton (Yorkshire, Durham, England and Scotland), Oliver Hannon-Dalby (Yorkshire and Warwickshire), James Harris (Glamorgan and Middlesex), Geraint Jones (Kent, Gloucestershire and England), Steve James (Glamorgan and England – days 4 and 5 only), David Leatherdale (Worcestershire), Matthew Maynard (Glamorgan and England), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Alex Morris (Yorkshire and Hampshire), Charlie Mulraine (Warwickshire), Tony Murphy (Lancashire and Surrey), Gareth Rees (Glamorgan), Ian Saxelby (Gloucestershire), Marcus Trescothick (Somerset and England), Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire and England – day 2 only), Mark Wallace (Glamorgan), David Wigley (Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire), Matthew Wood (Yorkshire and Glamorgan).
Donations to Big Bike Ride 3 can be made by clicking here and supporting the PCA Benevolent Fund and Tom Maynard Trust.