Jones back for Big Bike Ride 3
Jones back for Big Bike Ride 3

Ashes winning cricketer Geraint Jones is looking forward to visiting two clubs that helped to set him on the road to international first-class cricket when he takes part in Big Bike Ride 3 later this week.

Jones, who retired from first-class cricket two years ago, will be taking time off from his new job as a games teacher at St Lawrence College, to ride the full five days of Big Bike Ride 3 which will raise money for the PCA Benevolent Fund and Tom Maynard Trust.

The former Kent and Gloucestershire wicketkeeper, who was part of England’s 2005 Ashes winning side, took part in Big Bike Ride 2 in 2015 and enjoyed it so much that he has come back for more.

He is no stranger to cycling having taken part in the inaugural Goatham’s Great Kent Cycle Ride in the summer, a three day ride that covered 220 miles in three days, raising funds for Kent Sports Trust and Help for Heroes.

This year’s Big Bike Ride starts at Edgbaston on Friday October 13th and finishes in Cardiff on Tuesday October 17th, travelling via Derbyshire, Sheffield, the Peak District, Cheshire Plain, Shropshire, Malvern Hills, the Forest of Dean and Welsh mountains.

The route includes refreshment stops at 16 community cricket clubs including Lydney, where Jones played when he first arrived in England from Australia and Abergavenny, the club he played for immediately before signing his first professional contract with Kent.

“I loved doing the ride two years ago, just the whole event. When the opportunity came up again I was really keen to do it. Thankfully the school have let me do it.

“It’s a tough few days on the bike. But all the fun we have and the camaraderie make it easier.

“It’s good to catch up with people you’ve got to know over the years and also some new people.

“It’s people getting together and enjoying a challenge and raising money for two good charities. Knowing what good the money does keeps you going up those hills.

“Another factor was going back to two of my clubs. Lydney is where it all started for me. That was the first club I played for when I came to the UK at 18 and Abergavenny was the last club I was at before I went off to Kent to be a pro. So I’m looking forward to seeing some friendly faces and catching up with old friends.”

Jones, along with the 60 other Big Bike Ride 3 cyclists, has been busy fund-raising ahead of Big Bike Ride 3 and will arrive with his legs in beautiful condition having had them waxed by his pupils as part of his fund-raising.

“It felt like I had walked through a field of stinging nettles immediately afterwards but the pain has eased now and my legs are absolutely fine now,” he said.

“I was just trying to think of something a bit different that would engage with the kids at school. It was a bit made really I suppose. I asked for a donation and there were plenty of takers. I raised about £50 from it so thanks to all of those that donated.”

Jones will be joined on Big Bike Ride 3 by two more of England’s 2005 Ashes side, Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan, plus fellow former Test players Tim Bresnan, Matthew Maynard –the father of Surrey and former Glamorgan batsman Tom, who died in tragic circumstances in 2012 – Gavin Hamilton and Steve James.

Vaughan, England’s captain in 2005, will ride only the second day from Sheffield Collegiate, his home club, to Crewe Vagrants CC in Nantwich with James, who is now a cricket writer for ‘The Times’, cycling the last two days days.

All proceeds from Big Bike Ride 3 will be shared between the PCA Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust.

The PCA Benevolent Fund was set up in 2000, and supports past and present cricketers, and their immediate family members in times of hardship and upheaval.

The Tom Maynard Trust was set up in 2012 and supports aspiring young sports people in a number of ways including sponsorship of the PCA’s annual Rookie Camp.

Cricketers taking part in Big Bike Ride 3: Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire and England), Dan Cherry (Glamorgan), Alan Fordham (Northamptonshire), David Fulton (Kent), Gavin Hamilton (Yorkshire, Durham, England and Scotland), James Harris (Glamorgan and Middlesex), Geraint Jones (Kent, Gloucestershire and England), Steve James (Glamorgan and England – days 4 and 5 only), David Leatherdale (Worcestershire), Matthew Maynard (Glamorgan and England), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Alex Morris (Yorkshire and Hampshire), Charlie Mulraine (Warwickshire), Tony Murphy (Lancashire and Surrey), Gareth Rees (Glamorgan), Ian Saxelby (Gloucestershire), Marcus Trescothick (Somerset and England), Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire and England – day 2 only), Mark Wallace (Glamorgan), David Wigley (Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire), Matthew Wood (Yorkshire and Glamorgan).


Big Ride 3 itinerary:

October 13: Edgbaston to Sheffield Collegiate CC – Depart Edgbaston 7am, Atherstone CC 9.40am, Quarndon CC 12.20pm, South Wingfield CC 2.20pm, Sheffield Collegiate CC 4.20pm

October 14: Sheffield Collegiate to Crewe Vagrants CC – Depart Sheffield Collegiate CC 7.20am,  Buxton CC 10.20am, Poachers Inn, Bollington 12pm,  Middlewich CC.2.20pm, Crewe Vagrants CC 3.30pm

October 15: Crewe to Worcestershire CCC – Depart Crewe Vagrants CC 7.25am, Calverhall CC 9am, Broseley CC 12pm, Cleobury Mortimer CC 2.20pm, Worcestershire CCC 4.30pm

October 16: Worcester to Monmouth School – Depart Worcestershire CCC 8.55am, Ledbury CC 11am, Ruardean Hill CC 12.40pm, Lydney CC 2.30pm, Monmouth School 3.20pm

October 17: Monmouth to SSE SWALEC Stadium – Depart Monmouth School 6.55am, Abergavenny CC 9.10am, Newbridge CC 12.20pm, St Fagans CC 2.20pm, Glamorgan CCC 4pm