Everyone’s a winner in the Fakenham 50

Downhill start - riders leave the Fakenham Community centre at the start of their ride through the surrounding countryside. MLNF15PB08646 ANL-150109-121141001
Downhill start - riders leave the Fakenham Community centre at the start of their ride through the surrounding countryside. MLNF15PB08646 ANL-150109-121141001
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The third Fakenham 50 cycle event attracted 250 riders who braved Sunday’s weatehr forecast and were rewarded with only light rain.

Based at Fakenham Community Centre it was what is known as a Cycling Sportive event, a non-competitive ride where the aim is to enjoy the pleasure of simply cycling along open roads.

Yet everyone who took part was a winner as every finisher was presented with a trophy.

Several riders also took the opportunity to use the ride to raise money for local causes such as the Walker and Randell families who came together to raise £120 for First Focus, a Fakenham information and social centre badly in need of funds.

It was the final part of Active Fakenham Week which began with running races on Fakenham racecourse the previous weekend.

The week was all part of a drive to encourage residents to exercise to improve their health and well being.

The Fakenham 50, though, was also entwined with the town’s cycling history.

Some 150 years ago John Garrood, who owned a business in Wells Road, played a significant part in the development of cycling by inventing both the tubular metal forks and rubber pedals standard on all bikes today.

This year’s route covered Sculthorpe, Burnham Market and Burnham Thorpe, the Barshams, Houghton St Giles, Little Walsingham and Great Snoring.

Help was available th punctures and there were two feeding stations at Walsingham and Burnham Thorpe.

Riders has a choice of three routes, 15 miles, 25 and 36. The start time was 9am but entrants could start whenever they wanted, riding once round their chosen route or double up on more than one route which meant a few riders were in the saddle in the late afternoon.

“It’s such good countryside for cycling. It’s very spectacular,” said Richard Crook who co-ordinated the event in conjunction with Fakenham club, East Coast riders.

“We’re aiming at beginners, people who want to get on a bike, but we also get a lot of club riders.”

The cycling event was followed in the afternoon by Bank Holiday in the Garden, set in a walled garden behind the community centre which has a history of it’s own.

It was once owned by Dr Edward Palin, the grandfather of Monty Python and travel writer, Michael Palin, and still features apple, pear and fig trees.

The afternoon was designed to enable riders and residents to relax and unwind, enjoy light refreshments, a barbecue and enjoy music that ranged from folk to pop.

It was the first event in the garden which the community centre hope to use more extensively in the years to come.