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Cycling for Autism

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Cycling Ladies

Two Haddenham residents Rachael Barnard and Natalie Giles and others from Quainton, Weedon and Buckingham have formed a women's road cycling team, intent on raising autism awareness and funds for a Bucks early years autism charity called the Puzzle Centre.

Their ambition is to complete L'Etape du Tour, a mountain stage of the Tour de France and road cycling's toughest sportive, to promote autism awareness and fundraise for ground-breaking early years autism charity, the Puzzle Centre. Each of the riders either has a child on the autism spectrum or works at the charity's early intervention centre.

Just days before the peloton passes by, these five amateur female cyclists — none of whom had ever ridden a road bike until a few months ago — will tackle a tough mountain stage of the Tour de France covering 142km, climbing around 60km over four mountains at an average gradient of 6.5%.

With the support of the cycling industry and autism community (see our sponsors), the rookie team has received donations of bikes, kit, nutrition and training support and has learnt the skills of road biking in readiness for this gruelling endurance event.

Rachael said: "When I first visited Puzzle Centre, all I could think was that I wish a place like this had existed when our son was young so that the whole family could have accessed their support and knowledge during those difficult early years and diagnosis process. Ordinary families deserve access to ground-breaking services like Puzzle — that's why we decided to form Puzzle5 and take on the L'Etape challenge. By the time we complete the race on 19 July 2015, we hope to have made more people aware of the needs of very young children with autism and raised funds to help extend the vital services provided by Puzzle Centre.'

Puzzle Centre is a place of hope and joy for these very young children and their families.
If you are interested in learning more about the Puzzle5Etape and the work at Puzzle Centre, please contact rider Rachael Barnard on 07792 635192

If you would like to help these ladies to realise their ambition and make autism more widely understood and the Puzzle Centre's service more easily accessible by following them on Facebook and on twitter @Puzzle5Etape or visit their website.

To donate, please visit their JustGiving page.

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