Rugby League Cares is heading Stateside in 2022 for the adventure of a lifetime on the UK Red Empire State 500, an epic 500-mile bike ride from Niagara Falls to Central Park, New York.
Over six amazing days in early June, riders will follow the historic Erie Canal eastwards from the world-famous waterfalls at Niagara to the state capital of New York, Albany, before heading south along the Hudson River on sections of the Appalachian Trail.
Along the route they’ll pass the ancestral homelands of the native American Iroquois, Sioux and Algonquin tribes, ride through Amish communities and see small town America like never before.
The adventure concludes with a ride through the Bronx, Harlem and along Broadway into Manhattan and the finish in the iconic Central Park.
The majority of the route is on traffic-free trails and cycleways and is fully supported by a dedicated team of RL Cares staff members.
The charity’s annual fundraising bike ride will once again be sponsored by UK Red Security and Fire Systems, who will be represented on the trip by the Leeds-based company’s Managing Director, Kevin Walton.
Places on the UK Red Empire State 500 are strictly limited to 20 riders, including a number of high-profile former Rugby League internationals who have signed up to help raise the funds RL Cares needs to support vulnerable people in Rugby League communities.
A limited number of places are available for members of the public with a sense of adventure who want to test themselves and create treasured memories that will last a lifetime.
The ride was originally scheduled to take place last year but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chris Rostron, the Head of RL Cares, said: “We are delighted to confirm that that UK Red Empire State 500 is going ahead in June 2022.
“It’s going to be an amazing experience for everyone involved, a real ‘bucket list’ adventure that will see the riders see America in a unique and exciting way.
“Over the last two years RL Cares has made a positive impact on the lives of more people than ever before and the funds we raise on the ride will allow us to keep making a difference where it matters most.
“On behalf of the charity and all the people we help, I’d like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to Kevin Walton and the team at UK Red for their generous support of the UK Red Empire State 500. Their commitment to the charity is brilliant.”
UK Red Managing Director Kevin Walton said: “As a company we feel privileged to have the opportunity to extend our partnership with Rugby League Cares into 2022; as a cyclist, I must admit to being both thrilled and daunted by the challenge and ambition of the UK Red Empire State 500!
“RL Cares does so much work to support people in Rugby League communities and our sponsorship of the ride is our way of recognising that. We are all RL fans at UK Red and we see what a positive difference RL Cares makes.”
The riders will cross the Atlantic on Friday June 3 and spend Saturday sightseeing around Niagara Falls before setting off for New York City on Sunday morning. They’ll stay in hotels along the route, averaging 85 miles a day on their way to Central Park, arriving on the afternoon of Friday June 10.
After a celebration dinner in a Broadway restaurant on the Friday night, riders have all day Saturday and Sunday morning free to explore the Big Apple before heading home on Sunday evening.
All riders are required to pay a participation fee to help cover some of the costs of their flights and accommodation, and must commit to reaching a minimum fundraising target.
RL Cares will provide all meals, snacks, bike hire, cycling kit and transfers within the USA throughout the ride.
If you are interested in taking part in this amazing adventure, or require more information about the UK Red Empire State 500, please contact RL Cares Events Manager Catherine Maddy, firstname.lastname@example.org or Communications Manager John Ledger, email@example.com