Search underway for longest cycle to work

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Brendan O’Reilly, Jaguar Land Rover transport planner, with cycling colleagues Chris Walmsley and Kieran Beddis.

THE starting gun has been fired in the search for the longest commute to work — as part of the countdown to this year’s OVO Women’s Cycling Tour.

And it is a group of cyclists at luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover who are setting the pace.

Around 500 workers across the company cycle to work on a regular basis from across the region to Whitley and Gaydon.

Among them is Carl Walmsley, a vehicle engineer, who has worked for the company for 20 years.

The 46-year-old cycles six to eight legs of his commute to work at Gaydon in a week, covering anything up to 180 miles.

He is joined on the road by chassis engineer Kieran Beddis, 38, who makes the round trip from Meriden to Gaydon two or three times a week.

Carl said: “It is about 20 miles to work, and I then change the route to avoid traffic on the way home which adds around five more miles.

“I drive to work with my bike in the car, and then drive back again on a Friday and cycle all the other days so I do six or eight trips. “There are quite a few of us, and you meet people out on the road both on the way in and back home again.”

Kieran added: “I have cycled with friends and family for 20 years. I do about 25 miles on the way to work and then 27 on my way back.

“It is great passing people sitting in their cars queuing but it also means I sleep well on a Friday night!”

Jaguar Land Rover is currently talking with Warwickshire County Council about long term plans to improve access to its site by bike.

Warwickshire will host the third stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Friday, 15th June giving cycling fans the chance to watch the thrilling road race once again — with a start and a finish in the county.

The field will make its way from Atherstone in the north of the county, before weaving its way through Warwickshire in a 151km route, ending in Royal Leamington Spa. The Warwickshire stage is the longest of the 2018 event.

Last year, the event was a huge success throughout the whole of the county, with an estimated 95,000 spectators lining the streets.

A total of 312,000 people watched coverage from Stage 3 on ITV4 and it was broadcast in more than 100 countries, including every country in Europe for the first time. It is also estimated that more than £2million was generated during the Warwickshire stage in 2017.

The event will kick-off at 10am with 17 teams and 102 competitors are expected to start arriving in Leamington at around 2pm.

The county council is keen to hear from any commuters who top Carl and Kieran’s weekly cycling mileage. If that’s you, or someone you know e-mail chrisegan@warwickshire.gov.uk