From Essex to Emsworth: A Bike Ride for Domestic Violence Victims

Local resident Tom Shaw reports on he and his friends’ 140-mile charity bike ride to raise money for Women’s Aid.

On Tuesday 3rd August 2021, a four-man cycling group comprised of myself, Josh Sturt, Joe Vear and Matt Drabble will be setting off on a 140-mile (225 km) bike ride from Essex to Emsworth. Our aim is to complete the trip in one day. 

We are doing this for Women’s Aid, a charity which prevents domestic violence and provides support for the victims of domestic violence, coercion and harassment. Such abuse affects thousands of people across the UK, regardless of race, class or gender, but unfortunately women and children are disproportionately impacted.

Sadly, incidents of domestic violence have risen exponentially throughout the pandemic, with the charity Refuge reporting a 60% increase on the average number of its monthly enquiries since early 2020. Refuge, Women’s Aid and other support organisations have been stretched to full capacity. Each member of our team is very proud to be raising money for Women’s Aid to fund some of their life-changing work which is highly dependent on public donations. 

We all live in and around Portsmouth. Joe and I work full-time while, until recently, Matt and Josh were studying at university in the USA. Our cycling training has been largely solitary and we’ve made every effort to train whenever possible; early morning, after work or on a stationary bike at home. 

Regardless of how prepared we are, this ride will hurt a lot and be a major test of our mindset. Setting off at 5am from Colchester, we will be riding to Portsmouth all day; covering scenic countryside, busy roads and very steep hills. Our challenges will be more than just physical as we will have wind, rain and sun to contend with, and likely technical problems such as a puncture or two!

Each of us is raring to go and so grateful for all the donations we’ve received so far.

If you would like to sponsor our 140-mile challenge, please follow the link to our Just Giving page here.

Left to right: Joe Vear, josh Sturt, matt Drabble, Tom shaw


Image by MabelAmber from Pixabay.


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