Riders gear up for Riding for Ryan event at Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells

Start of last year's  Riding  for Ryan, Charity Cycle Ride at Fantasy Island, Ingoldmells. Pictured from left, Claire Draper, Alisha Thompson, Mark Smith, Adam Waples, Ryan Smith and Paige Harris. Photo: MSKP-100917-12 ANL-180830-182126001
Start of last year's Riding for Ryan, Charity Cycle Ride at Fantasy Island, Ingoldmells. Pictured from left, Claire Draper, Alisha Thompson, Mark Smith, Adam Waples, Ryan Smith and Paige Harris. Photo: MSKP-100917-12 ANL-180830-182126001

An inspirational Chapel St Leonards man, who suffered severe brain injuries in a cycling accident five years ago, is gearing up to once again host a charity ride to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a helmet.

The fourth annual Riding for Ryan event promotes ‘lids on kids’ and raises funds for the Ryan Smith Foundation. It is organised as part of Bike Fest 2018 at Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells.

We are extremely happy to be a part of Ryan’s journey of progression and are hoping for another successful ‘Bike Fest’ event

Fantasy Island

Twenty-one year old Ryan, who is just starting a new year at Boston College studying IT, has recently taken part in his second Super Heroes Triathlon in Windsor, held in honour of Children’s Trust, in Surrey, where Ryan underwent extensive rehabilitation for nine months following his accident.

On Sunday, he will lead the riders on a course of 50k with his dad, Mark. There is also a 100k course around the Lincolnshire countryside.

Mark said Ryan was looking forward to the event after “pedaling really hard through his bike section“ at the Superheroes event. He said: “Ryan wishes to express his gratitude to everyone for their ongoing support over the past five years.

“Riding for Ryan is in its fourth year and we hope to see new and old faces at the event.

“The Foundation continues to deliver cycle safety campaigns and hands out helmets if requested.”

Ryan said: “I look forward to new challenges and will continue to do my best in all I do.”

Bike Fest will start at 10am on Sunday, September 9, with registration at 9am. Last year, more than 90 riders took part, but the Ryan Smith Foundation are hoping for more this year.

Entry fee is £10 which includes refreshments en route, mobile support crew, first aid facilities and a free all-day ride wristband for all participants.

The entry fees will be donated to the Ryan Smith Foundation in support of safer cycling. Helmets must be worn during this event.

Bikefest is organised in association with British Cycling. Mark said: “It is a fantastic event. We can’t thank Fantasy Island enough.”

In promoting cycling safety, the Ryan Smith Foundation has also visited schools to give talks about the importance of cycle safety. Mark said they must have visited more than 15 schools, and handed out 1,000 helmets. He said: “Cycling is close to our hearts, and is at the forefront of our minds.”

For more on Bikefest, visit www.fantasyislandresort.co.uk/events/bikefest or visit www.britishcycling.org.uk and search for Riding for Ryan 2018.

Paige Harris, head of marketing at Fantasy Island, said: “Fantasy Island is honoured to announce that it will be continuing to work in partnership with The Ryan Smith Foundation on our annual event, 
Riding for Ryan – Bike Fest 2018.

“This event aims to raise money, but more importantly awareness for cycle safety, and promote the important ethos - ‘lids on kids’! We are extremely happy to be a part of Ryan’s journey of progression and are hoping for another successful ‘Bike Fest’ event.”