Cycle ride to Gibraltar for charity

Chilwell-based Nottingham Royal Engineers are to undertake an epic 300-hour cycle ride to Gibraltar, the birthplace of the Corps of Royal Engineers, to celebrate its tercentenary.

Nine soldiers from 66 Works Group, part of 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group Royal Engineers, are taking part in the ride that will see them leave the Royal Albert Hall, London, on the 19th September and arrive in Gibraltar on the 1st October.

They hope their efforts will raise over £10,000 to be divided between The Royal British Legion, The Royal Engineers Association and Cancer Research UK.

The idea for the ride came from the Commanding Officer of 66 Works Group, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Millar. He said: “The Corps of Royal Engineers celebrate their 300th anniversary this year. Our motto is “Ubique” which means everywhere and I wanted to reflect that and our history in the challenge.

“I’m a keen cyclist and decided that a cycle ride to our birth place would be an ideal way to mark this momentous occasion whilst raising money at the same time.”

He continued: “We chose the Albert Hall as our start point because the Royal Engineers designed and oversaw its construction nearly 150-years ago.” The Royal Albert Hall was built between 1867 and 1871 to the design of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Scott RE based on a design by Captain Francis Fowke RE.

Lieutenant Colonel Millar said: “It’s a great starting point. It’s amazing what those guys achieved, especially when you think of the engineering equipment they had then compared to today. It’s simply a stunning building and their work is still remembered by us today.  In recognition of the work of Captain Fowke, the top student of each Clerk of Works (Construction) course held at the Royal School of Military Engineering is presented with the Fowkes award.”

Nine cyclists will be taking part in the ride, a distance of almost 1800-miles. The team that ranges from club level cyclists to recreational cyclists will be backed up by a six-man support team. They aim to cycle 150-miles a day to cover the route in twelve and a half days (300 hours). Anyone who would like to show their support by making a donation can do so at:

Based at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, the team has been training up to five times a week in readiness for the challenge ahead. Lieutenant Colonel Millar continued: “We’ve been training out on our bikes most days both as individuals and as a team. We’ve also all invested in some comfy seats.  We expect to burn around 2500 calories every day, so we will need to be eating and drinking plenty to maintain our strength. Everyone is looking forward to it.”

Lieutenant Colonel Millar continued: “This is an enormous challenge and tests all the qualities and skills of leadership, organisation and determination, not to mention physical fitness that is to be expected in the Corps. I am proud of everyone associated with this challenge and am confident of their success and know that the entire regiment and all our affiliates and friends are wishing them the very best for this demanding cycle whilst raising awareness and money for three great charities.”

The route will see the team cycle from the Royal Albert Hall to Dover where they will catch a ferry to Calais. They will cycle through France before continuing into the hillier terrain of Spain. Their aim is to reach Spain on the 25th September before finally arriving in Gibraltar on the 1st October.

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