Charity bike ride in memory of Sheffield cyclist killed by drink-driver moves to bigger venue

Eric Codling was a keen cyclist
Eric Codling was a keen cyclist
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A bike ride in memory of a Sheffield cyclist killed by a drink-diver is back for a fourth year - with this summer's event set to be the biggest yet.

RideforEric was launched in honour of Eric Codling, a father-of-two who died after being hit by a car while cycling along Whirlowdale Road, in Whirlow, in November 2013.

Eric's daughter Eve Codling, pictured with Diane Norman and Danielle Norman, took part in the first RideForEric event

Eric's daughter Eve Codling, pictured with Diane Norman and Danielle Norman, took part in the first RideForEric event

His friends and family set up the event in 2014 as a way for those who knew the popular 55-year-old from Millhouses, who was a keen cyclist and big Sheffield Wednesday fan, to commemorate his life.

But it has quickly grown in size after capturing the imagination of the wider public, and this year will feature four different challenges, ranging in length from 5km to 100km.

Such is the demand, organisers had to find a bigger venue for this summer's rides on Sunday, July 9, all of which will start and finish at Millhouses Park, in Abbeydale Road South.

The event offers something for everyone, from hardcore cyclists to those who want to enjoy a fun day out with the family.

Eric Codling with his wife Karen and their daughters Grace and Eve

Eric Codling with his wife Karen and their daughters Grace and Eve

In addition to the rides, a range of activities are planned within the park, including bike workshops and face-painting.

As well as celebrating Eric's life, the day aims to provide a safe atmosphere for people to enjoy cycling and to make a statement about cycling safety.

Since it began, it has raised around £20,000 for good causes.

Most of that money has gone towards a bereavement counselling service run by Cavendish Cancer Care, which helps others going through what Eric's family endured.

The inaugural RideforEric bike ride in 2014

The inaugural RideforEric bike ride in 2014

It also funded last summer's Hills2Boro bike ride from Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium to Middlesbrough FC's Riverside ground.

Eric's widow Karen said the event attracted around 300 riders last year and she hopes even more people will get involved this time.

"It's an amazing day and it means Eric's name is still out there, which is the main thing," she said.

"I think he would be amazed at how popular it is and how many cycling contacts I've made."

Karen added that she was glad the event was making a difference to families struggling with the loss of a loved one.

"About six people have been through Cavendish for the free bereavement counselling sessions. It really makes a difference when you're in this big dark hole having had this happen to you," she said.

Eric's killer, Emma Egan, then aged 26, was jailed for four years in 2014 after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Karen backed The Star's campaign to introduce life sentences for killer motorists, which may be brought in following a government consultation.

For more details of this year's RideForEric event, and to get involved, visit rideforeric.com.