While Chris Froome was bidding to win his second Grand Tour of the year in Spain, older brother Jonathan chose the modest climbs of the Chilterns to exercise his cycling skills.
The elder Froome, aged 39, chose the 80 mile route of the Marlow Red Kite Ride as one of his few outings of the year and afterwards described himself purely as a “casual cyclist”.
And Froome senior, from Purley Surrey, even revealed what might be the earliest secret of Chris’s success: “I remember in those days he often used to pinch my bike,” said Jonathan.
He was one of 700 riders in a another sellout entry at the popular Chilterns event which is likely to raise around £9,000 for chosen charity Cycling Projects and the “Wheels for All” initiative at Bisham Abbey.
A popular feature at the Red Kite Ride returned this year with Riders taking to a 30 metre wide ford crossing the river Loddon near Twyford. At just under a foot deep it is only the second year in five that the river depth would allow the routes to cross the ford and the feature proved quite a talking point for the returning riders.
Among others taking part this year were 11 year-old Henry Deardon from Oxfordshire, who rode with his older sister and father and completed his first 50 mile event.
Also riding the 50 miler was disabled cyclist Faisal Sultan, who completed his ride on a hand cycle in just 4hrs 30 mins. Sultan, who was paralysed in his lower limbs in an accident 12 years ago, has also completed the London to Paris charity ride in three days.
There was a natural tie up for Sultan at the Red Kite Ride as the proceeds will be donated to a charity and project dedicated to providing solutions for anyone with disabilities to ride adapted bikes and trikes in group sessions. The latest venue to be opened is at nearby Bisham Abbey and the money raised will go to helping develop this as a growth centre for the Wheels for All project.
This was the fifth Red Kite Ride organised by local club Marlow Riders which has seen its membership swell to 200 since starting only in 2010.
“I never imaged that we would grow so quickly,” said chairman Rod Woodland. With its ethos as ‘Cycling for All’, Woodland described the Marlow Riders as “A 21st century cycling club.” He added: “Many other clubs were formed in the 1950s and 1960s and they’ve never changed. What we do is cater for everyone who wants to come and enjoy their cycling.”