EDITOR’S COMMENT: Whether you’re a Lance Armstrong or a novice rider – our 50-mile charity cycle challenge could be a national showpiece event

I’M ALREADY having palpitations, which will no doubt be followed up by a series of sweat-inducing nightmares: that’s right, folks, it’s time for the Derbyshire Times Flagg Challenge –a 50 mile charity bike ride, in aid of Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice.

The brainchild of the DT’s Jon Cooper - a reporter of 13 years at DT Towers - last year was the inaugural run for the testing trail which attracted 60 riders.

The first wheel turned in anger after Emmerdale heart-throb Rick Makarem fired the starters’ gun, with all levels of abilities taking part, from seasoned wheelers to people like me, who by my own admission am overweight, unfit, over the hill – but determined to do my bit.

Together we raised over £7,500 in sponsorship for the event, and such was its popularity that it is now an annual summer event which we want to grow and grow.

It is my ambition to get entrants into three figures this year. If we can double the number of riders, it stands to reason that we can double the funds raised.

Listen, trust me – if I can do it, anyone can do it.

So this is a call to arms to would-be riders, businesses and the public in general to really get behind this event. Whether you can dip into your business’ account and donate a significant sum – in return for the coverage your generosity deserves – or you can only afford a small amount – every penny counts when it comes to making patients and their families more comfortable as the hospice does what it does best.

So please spread the word. If you know someone who has a bike, they should be joining in the effort.

If you’re part of a cycling club and want to push your members through their paces, through some of the country’s most stunning landscapes – why go anywhere else? Let’s make this event another top class show for Derbyshire to shout about!

by James Mitchinson