Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batter encourages others to support the Trust.
As part of Issue 32 of the PCA membership magazine, Beyond the Boundaries, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust spoke to Gloucestershire’s James Bracey about the upcoming London To Paris Bike Ride supporting the Trust.
Cycling down the Champs-Élysées with the Eiffel Tower and more importantly the finish line in sight is the moment that James Bracey is looking forward to most. However, standing in his way is the epic 400km journey through the English and French countryside.
In October this year Bracey, among others, will set out to cycle from London to Paris to raise vital funds for the players’ charity.
Coinciding with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Trust will use the awareness day to highlight the need to raise money to combat the growing trend of welfare and wellbeing issues it’s assisting people with.
The Gloucestershire batter completed the Headingley to Lord’s bike ride in 2021 and is looking forward to challenging himself once again this October.
“I really enjoyed the physical challenge and loved the whole event last time. So once I heard the London to Paris route had been decided I signed up as soon as the Trust announced it. The last one was such great fun, as hard as it was, it was a fantastic few days.
“It’s good that a few more players are signing up, it will be great to share those memories with other players on the circuit at the moment who are just as keen as me to ride through Paris which is a very cool thought.”
“Alongside the mental health support, the greatest part about the Trust is what they do for you once you finish playing the game.”
The headline event for the charity in 2023 is looking to raise £50,000, if achieved the successful riders will have secured donations to provide life-changing and in some cases life-saving mental health support.
“At Gloucestershire we’re definitely aware of what the Trust can do for us, Martin Cropper our PDM is really good at explaining all the support that is on offer. It’s also important that it’s a two way relationship and that we help raise money for the Trust and it’s not just take, take, take.”
The 26-year-old admits to being more of a runner but that ability doesn’t matter as all the riders pulls together to make sure everyone completes the challenge.
“I’m definitely not a cycling pro, I’m lucky to have my uncle’s company sponsoring me because he’s a former professional cyclist so it’s made a huge difference since having a proper bike and getting some tips off him. I found the last ride challenging but not the point that it wasn’t enjoyable, so this time it will be good to tackle a different route.”
Bracey knows the important work that the Trust do and hopes that the fundraising targets can be met to ensure the players’ charity can continue providing the vital services it offers to current and former players.
“Alongside the mental health support, the greatest part about the Trust is what they do for you once you finish playing the game. In the future I might need the Trust for something so for me it’s important to support them while I can.”
The left-hander is keen for as many current professionals to sign up as possible and wants to encourage friends and family to don the lycra all for a good cause.
“Most of us will have just finished a long season, so three days cycling won’t appeal to everyone but if you can look past that and see it as great fun, nothing too serious and once you actually sign up you can buy into it and really start to look forward to it.”
The London to Paris bike ride is open to everyone so please spread the word as much as possible.
- Day One – Tuesday 10 October: Ride from the Kia Oval to Portsmouth (149km), the route takes the riders through the wonderful scenery of the North and South Downs, the route is rather hilly but much of the afternoon is spent going downhill towards Portsmouth.
- Day Two – Wednesday 11 October: Ride from Caen to Evreux (145km), the ferry arrives early into Ouistreham where we have breakfast. The will be three stops along the way through the French countryside before dinner at a local restaurant in Evreux.
- Day Three – Thursday 12 October: Ride from Evreux to Paris (124km), the final day’s route includes a stop at the fabulous Palace of Versailles before heading into the Parisian suburbs and towards the Eiffel Tower.
- Day Four – Friday 13 October: Travel Home. The riding is over! You’ll have time to take in the French capital before returning to the UK on the Eurostar.
- Full support crew dealing with hotels, luggage and pit stops.
- Hotel and ferry accommodation for three nights.
- Two fully qualified medics.
- All food from a light breakfast on the first day to breakfast on the Friday.
- One pie bike ride guide for every 10 cyclists.
- Bike transportation back to the UK.
- Eurostar trip from Paris back to UK.
- All participants will be asked to fundraise a minimum of £1,600 which will include a contribution to the cost of the trip.
- A deposit of £150 is required on sign-up.