Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2014/03/14 Foodbanks

Full ride report to follow but I got this far

Foodbanks Ride report

Apologies: I’ve been really busy with cycle campaigning stuff and have not had the energy to give to a ride report. Getting round to it now.

So here goes: We gathered on Park Sq by some benches, hemmed in by railings and tramlines, and people just kept on coming. The day had been dry, even sunny and warm at midday, but by quarter past 6 the temperature had dropped, a breeze had started to blow and black, sombre clouds were banked up from the north west. Tony Benn, class warrior and democrat, had passed away that morning, and I thought whether the weather some kind of sign to mark his passing or a portent of something grave to happen on the ride. And people just kept coming.

Just before 6.30 35-40 of us, all with full panniers or bags, gathered for an explanation of the ride, and, even tho’ it was sad to note, it was apt that we were doing this ride on the day Tony Benn, whose socialism was a product of his family’s dissenting, non-conformist christianity, had died. And with that in mind I set off up South St and turned to go through Hyde Park Flats onto Talbot St … to be continued

anyway the ride was abandoned in Philadelphia. Those black clouds heralded a strong fast gusty winds and we got blown all over all the place on Parson Cross and Shirecliffe, then on Neepsend Lane, dust, grit, large sheets of plastic and hardboard were flying about so when we got to St Thomas’s I said I thought it was getting a bit risky to lead a ride and everyone else agreed. we gave the rest of our food to St Thomas’s and will have to do the foodbanks South of the city another time.

Next Sheffield FNR
Fri 14 March 2014
Start: Park Square, at bottom of South St. 6.30 pm
Britain isn't eating
Theme: This ride is to acknowledge and increase the publicity that there are food banks in Sheffield.  There are at least 16 and nine that publicise themselves, three of whom are under the auspices of the Trussell Trust that are offering succour and relief to people in Sheffield too poor to feed themselves.

The ride will visit each foodbank, locations are spread around, see the map below

View Foodbanks ( in a larger map
(and with elevations at

As an act of charity each rider will carry nine items of food  and ‘symbolically’ donate one item at each location.  I’ve done a recce and have posted some rough timings below.

As we have the timings then

  • riders can join in for all or some of the ride;
  • people can come out and donate food as we pass by;
  • foodbanks will know approx when we will arrive

The foodbanks have welcomed this ride & I am organising it with their knowledge and help.  We are organising volunteers to meet us, and if they don’t the food can go in the collection at the end.

Heads up! The ride is just over 20 miles of cycling with two tough climbs, one up to Parsons Cross and one up to Low Edges at opposite ends of the city so this charity ride will require fortitude and sacrifice and the riders will give, not just the ‘spectators’.  It isn’t cycling to Paris, Lands End to John O’Groats, it’s charitably giving up a Friday evening to acknowledge, appreciate, and publicise the work and function of foodbanks. 

Timings I did the recce (at my speed) and with a group of us riding then I reckon on the times below


Time Place Foodbank
Start 18.30 on Park Square ready to start climb up South St
18.45 Megacentre, Bernard Rd Contact telephone number: 07804406267
18.55 Rock Christian Centre, Carlisle St
19.15 Fir Vale, Owler Lane/Firth Park Rd Fir Vale Foodbank
19.25 (RCCG ) The Royal AssemblyBrushes Community CentreWest Quadrant, Firth Park Firth Park Foodbank
19.45 Mount Tabor Methodist Church,  Wordsworth Avenue, PX
20.00 Shirecliffe Community Centre, Shirecliffe Rd Jubilee Foodbank
20.20 St Thomas’ Church, Philadelphia
21.10 St Peter’s Church Greenhill
21.35 Gleadless Methodist Church, Blackstock Rd
Finish 22.00 Heeley Institute, Gleadless Rd

Riders can collect or receive the nine items from friends, colleagues or family –

here is an ‘indicative’ list of appropriate items

Of course a rider will experience a kind of spiritual joy and ecstasy (brought on by exercise, giving, encounters with charitable people) by the time we get to the finish.  Therefore I propose we celebrate and commune together by breaking bread – bring your own sarnies – and we can do that at Heeley Institute where those who haven’t been on the ride can come along to join us and bring food to donate to foodbanks – we can get a bar open there

I was planning to have a film (The Hunger Games) but looking at the times and the length of the film I just think it won’t finish until after midnight and then we have to clear up etc

SFNR will do as much as possible to publicise the ride, riders and other groups have offered to do the same, others who don’t ride with SFNR may want to join in, and others who find out about it may be prompted to donate to a foodbank.

I’ve written our own secular prayer for donors to foodbanks – the Our Fodder (I’ve tried to use the metre of the RC version of the Our Father, not very well -any wordsmiths out there?)

Our fodder – a secular prayer for donors to foodbanks

This, our fodder

we bring to thee

with our good hope and

best wishes. Please

take these gifts in

a spirit of humanity

and compassion. We

believe that no-one should

suffer neglect and hunger in

a fair and just society



Badge design – based on five loaves and two fishes!