CYCLISTS are gearing up to use pedal power to wheel-y rake in some money for charity, while also enjoying the sights of north Hampshire.

Returning to Down Grange Sports Complex for a 27th year, the St Michael’s Hospice Big Wheel is one of the facility’s landmark events each year.

The charity is appealing for fundraisers to put on their best Lycra shorts for the event on Sunday, July 21.

Cyclists will have the choice of routes to take on - five miles for beginners, a 22-mile route for intermediate cyclists, or for those looking to really test themselves, the challenger 40-mile route or the advanced 64-mile route.

Riders will set off from Down Grange Sports at 9am before heading out into the countryside on their chosen route.

To date the Big Wheel has helped raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity, with last year’s event managing to raise more than £30,000 for the Aldermaston Road hospice.

Laura Holmes, events manager at St. Michael’s Hospice said: “We’re really excited to welcome our cyclists to Down Grange for our 27th Big Wheel.

“This is a key event in our fundraising calendar as the money raised from entries, sponsorship and donations help us to continue providing vital care to local patients.

“By raising £20 through sponsorship, or an additional donation, you will help to cover the cost of one nurse for one hour which is a truly special gift for our patients experiencing the toughest of times.”

St. Michael’s Hospice has an annual operating cost of around £3.9 million of which the hospice receives less than 20 per cent through the NHS with the rest coming from donations, fundraising, its stores and other community-led sources.

Entry into the Big Wheel costs between £15 and £35, depending on the length of the route chosen.

To register for the Big Wheel or for more information about the event, go to