MP Kim Leadbeater joins cyclists as they set off on 280 mile ride from West Yorkshire to London in memory of the late Jo Cox
The newly-elected Batley and Spen MP, Kim Leadbeater joined 70 other cyclists this morning as they set off on a 280 mile ride in memory of her sister, the murdered MP Jo Cox.
It is the fifth year that the event has taken place and is called the Jo Cox Way.
Cyclists departed from the Princess Mary Stadium, Cleckheaton – in the constituency – and will finish at Flat Iron Square, Southwark, on Sunday August 1 following overnight stops in Buxton, Derbyshire, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, and Uxbridge, Middlesex.
Ms Leadbeater rode today to Buxton and due to constituency commitments will finish her stint there and meet the rest of the cyclists as they arrive at the finish line in London on Sunday.
With last year's event having to be cancelled and cycled virtually, this year's event will be even more important than ever.
Ms Leadbeater, who was included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to social cohesion and loneliness, said: “I am delighted and extremely excited that the Jo Cox Way ride is back, providing a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and different backgrounds to connect and engage with one another.
“The past 12 months has been incredibly challenging for us all, as so many people have been affected by lockdown and physical distancing. But it is amazing to see that, despite all the difficulties, many people’s commitment to making a difference has only grown stronger, with cyclists joining together for a reinvigorated ride to celebrate the fact that we have ‘far more in common than that which divides us’ – words from Jo’s maiden speech in Parliament.”
The wheels on this pedal-powered project were set in motion in 2016 by North Yorkshire business executive and keen cyclist Sarfraz Mian, BEM.
He added: “This year’s ride is going to play an important role in helping to establish a new normal for us all. Individuals taking part will form lasting friendships through this shared experience and we will celebrate community in the towns and villages we ride through and do our bit to bring business to local hotels, shops, cafés and pubs as we wend our way through the countryside.
“I never actually met Jo, but her belief in creating a fairer, kinder world for everyone really touched me and spurred me on to develop the Jo Cox Way so that I and my fellow cyclists can help continue her work and celebrate her big heart, generosity of spirit and commitment to bring about change.”
The five-day ride has proved so popular this year that it is now full up for those wishing to cycle the entire route. However, anyone still interested in taking part is invited to join the group as a day rider on different sections of the journey. Full details can be found at www.thejocoxway.org.uk.This year, organisers are also running a virtual ride to allow people from all over the world to participate by getting on their bikes and pledging miles.