A cyclist is set to ride between West Midlands football clubs to raise awareness of the issue of modern slavery, and hopes to encourage hundreds of others to join him.
Gordon Miller, from London, will be accompanied by current and former footballers as he cycles between Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, as well as Leicester City in the East Midlands.
The 58-year-old will tackle the eight-hour challenge this Thursday, which is the UN’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Among those joining the charity ride are Leicester City Women’s team captain Holly Morgan and former men’s team captain Steve Walsh, who have both pledged to cycle for an hour.
Mr Miller hopes to encourage many more riders to take part – with the ultimate aim of collectively completing more than 40 million pedal revolutions.
“There are 40 million people enslaved globally at any given time,” he said.
“So, harnessing the universal appeal of cycling, I thought let’s aim to honour each enslaved person by making 40 million pedal strokes.”
Mr Miller has calculated that a person cycles at an average 85 pedal rotations per minute, so would complete around 5,000 in one hour – and he has pledged to cycle for eight hours on the day.
It is the latest in a series of charity rides organised by Mr Miller, who earlier this year broke the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance covered by an electric bicycle in seven days, from Cadiz in south-western Spain to Mallabia in the Basque Country.
He said: “The idea to cycle between several Midlands football clubs came from the successful and impactful ride I did last summer during Euro 2020 when I visited all 20 Premier League clubs.
“The Midlands clubs were especially supportive of Ride For Freedom and I’ve kept in touch with them.”
All proceeds will go directly to his community interest company, Freewheel by Ride For Freedom, which empowers survivors of modern slavery to cycle to support their physical and mental health, independence and mobility.
Mr Miller said he hopes the ride will inspire others to cycle on the day or encourage family and friends to, whether it be “inside or outdoors, on the way to work, the shops, the pub – anywhere they like and for as long as they wish”.
More than 300 people have pledged to join the Ride For Freedom so far and Mr Miller said he is “really excited to read about and see photos from everyone else’s cycle”.
Cyclists can sign up to the pledge at rideforfreedom.org.uk/will-you-ride-for-freedom-on-2-december-2021.
Donations can be made at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freewheelbyrideforfreedom.