First Ayrshire Alps Cycling Challenge
Ayr Rotary Club’s major Autumn fundraising event was the Ayrshire Alps Challenge held on Saturday 8th October in partnership with Malawi Fruits, a Scottish charity which provides start up finance, training and support to agricultural enterprises; encouraging smallholding farmers to see their farms as businesses. Fundamentally, it enables the transition from subsistence crops to cash crops by providing support, training, irrigation and a market, therefore farmers have a guaranteed income. By supporting sustainable businesses this reduces poverty and so gives access to better health, education, stability and hope in northern Malawi.
The event base was at Turnberry airfield, with feed stations in Straiton and Barr, offering soup, filled rolls, tea coffee and home baking all supplied by Rotarian spouses and partners. A network of signed hill climbs, stylishly mapped and promoted, forms the basis of this event. Riders who pre-registered for a 48 mile or an 80 mile route around South Ayrshire’s beautiful countryside, started to arrive at Turnberry early and set off between 8am and 10am.
South Ayrshire Police were in support on their quad bikes ensuring all riders were safe and responsible. Of the110 registered entries, over 80 actually arrived in the dull grey early morning. For this inaugural event, Ayr Rotary Club were delighted to raise circa £2000. An excellent result. It is therefore proposed to repeat the event in June 2023 when the entries target will be 200, to raise, hopefully, £6000 to £7000.
The Ayrshire Alps is a concept with the aim of enriching the cycling experience in the South Carrick area through partnership working with community, tourism, local authority and enterprise. The aim is to create Scotland’s first road cycling park, similar in ambition to the off-road trail centres found across Southern Scotland.
Organiser, Bob Cherry, also a keen cyclist and President of Ayr Rotary Club, received numerous complimentary reviews from the majority of entrants and volunteers on the smooth running and success of the event.