The first St Albans Charity Cycle Ride (SACCR) was organised by the three St Albans Rotary clubs in 1994. A rotary club was first established in St Albans in 1928 and one of the many aims of Rotary has been to encourage and support good causes by fund raising and volunteering. By 1994 there were three Rotary clubs in the town and they were looking to organise a fundraising event which they could all participate in and the idea of a cycle ride was conceived. Back in 1994 cycle rides were not the everyday fundraising activity that they have since become and the first ride was warmly received and grew quickly in popularity over its early years.
Over the years the number of routes incorporated in the ride grew to the four we currently offer, the 10 mile, 20mile, 30mile & 40 mile routes. Occasionally participants who have participated in the ride for a number of years have enquired if the routes could be changed or an additional 50 or 60 mile route could be added. However, all of the existing routes have been carefully developed with rider safety as the paramount consideration. As far as possible, all four of the existing routes keep away from busy roads and have virtually no right turns, which would take cyclists across the traffic flow. The majority of all junctions on the 10, 20 & 30 mile routes are marshalled and every year the organising committee perform a detailed risk assessment on every part of each route, reviewing any change in traffic priorities, speed limits, etc. In the early years of the ride parts of the routes considered above ‘low risk’ (and there have only ever been two) were supervised by police officers. In later years, following a change in police policy, we have engaged traffic management companies to supervise these two junctions, with traffic lights or “stop/go” boards, and obtain the relevant permissions from the county highways department.
As the years have progressed the organisation of the event has evolved and virtually every year some change or improvement is made. To cover mobile telephone blackspots which became apparent on our predominantly rural routes some years ago we enlisted the highly valued assistance of RAYNET, a charity which provides radio communications in the event of emergencies. RAYNET provide skilled radio operators and equipment which covers all areas of the routes. In the early days of the ride the Red Cross provided first aid cover for the ride. This role was subsequently assumed by St John Ambulance who cover the routes with dedicated ambulances and trained paramedics to deal with any medical emergencies, should they arise. Blood Brothers, a charity made up of motorcyclists who routinely transfer emergency blood to hospitals, provide motor cycle marshals who maintain contact between cyclists, static marshals and checkpoints.
Over the last 25 years, SACCR has seen up to 1600 cyclists taking part and raising in order of £50,000 for our sponsored charities. Even though there has been a huge increase in similar fundraising events, SACCR still remains hugely popular. Many children who took part in the early rides, cycling alongside their parents, now take part with their own children. And we now allow people to raise money for their own charities, so the event benefits an even wider range of people. 25-years on, SACCR remains an annual milestone community fundraising event, which gets families and individuals out on an enjoyable exploration of the Hertfordshire countryside.