The fundraisers stopped off at the Riverside to lay a wreath for "Voice of the Boro" and "Fat Lad" Ali Brownlee
A group of “fat lads on bikes” took in a scenic route around Teesside for an emotional charity fundraiser.
More than 50 people signed up for the newly-inaugarated Tour of Teesside, which passed a number of iconic landmarks including Roseberry Topping, Gisborough Priory and the Brian Clough statue.
The main course was 41.4 miles but there was also an event at Middlesbrough Sports Village for younger riders wishing to take part.
The final stretch of the race featured a stop-off at the Riverside Stadium to remember one of their most loyal supporters - ‘Voice of the Boro’ Ali Brownlee.
Last June, the radio presenter joined the fundraisers at Fat Lads and Phat Lasses Whitby to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium ride.
Fat Lads on Bikes founder and chairman Neal Bullock said Ali, who tragically lost his battle against cancer in February, had agreed that Teesside needed its own cycling event.
Placing a wreath at the Riverside for his pal, said: “I find it difficult to talk about it, it’s very emotional.
“He was one of our lads.”
The Fat Lads raise money for ward 14 at James Cook University Hospital. For this first Tour of Teesside, they worked with a number of different charities and fundraising groups including the Phat Lasses in Trainers, Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Fund, Remembering Rebecca and MS Middlesbrough.
Also signing up was a group of Premier Player Football Academy trainers and former Boro stars including Andrew Collett, Philip Stamp, Graham Kavanagh, Stephen Gill, Robbie Shaw, Neil Maddison and Mark Proctor.
Following the success of the first event today, Neal hopes it will become an annual race.
The 42-year-old dad of three, of Ingleby Barwick, said there are plans to extend the route in 2017, inviting people to take part and raise funds for whichever charity of cause they choose.
“It’s not just about raising money for ward 14, it’s about as many people raising as much money as possible for whatever cause they choose and that could be a charity or a small, local club,” he said.
“This is just the beginning, the first year. It’s going to be huge.” [...]