GYRO: GNAAS Yearly Ride Out Q&A


If you were thinking of taking on a cycling challenge in aid of GNAAS, then join us for The GYRO on 12 October!


The GYRO is a new fundraising challenge in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) which comprises two rides depending on your cycling ability – the Base-to-Base Route and the Challenger Route.

The ride is the brainchild of a small group of doctors and paramedics from the North East, including paramedic Jamie Walsh and doctor Jeff Doran, who are part of the GNAAS critical care team.

Here they discuss the GYRO and what the challenge involves…

Can you tell us what the GYRO is?

The GYRO stands for GNAAS Yearly Ride Out and it’s also a little bit of a tip of the hat to a couple of other things.

The gyroscopic effect of the helicopter, obviously the bike wheels and also a little bit to the Italian Grand Tour.

We’ve been involved with mountain bike events like the Hamsterley Beast over the last few years which has been a phenomenal event for the charity.

A really good event. Really well organised. But there’s not really been something specific for the charity, for the lots of road cyclists that we have in the North of England.

So we had been thinking about it for a couple of years and we’ve sort of come up with the GYRO.

What does The GYRO involve?

So,  the GYRO comprises of two rides. Two distances.

Primarily it was billed as a base to base challenge, so the idea is to start at our base at Urlay Nook and then ride over the Pennines, up through Barnard Castle to Hart Side then down to Langwathby where our second aircraft is based. Helimed 58.

And then back through Swaledale in North Yorkshire, back to Urlay Nook again which is 150-mile ride.

There’s going to be close to 3,000 metres of climbing in that ride.

So we’re looking for really good experienced riders to enter into that 150-mile ride, it’s a big challenge, it’s a big day on the bike.

That’s going to be at least 10 hours in the saddle

But also we decided that actually that’s a significant challenge event for some, you’ve got to be a really committed bike rider, so we thought about doing a smaller route, and that was the challenger event.

The 75-mile one, which again starts at Urlay Nook and up to Barnard Castle, and that’s where the rides break off.

So this will go up over the Stang, which is the highest climb on that route and then down towards Dale’s Bike Centre where you’ll have a second feed station before the route home back to Urlay Nook.

So it’s a loop that doesn’t take in the second airbase but it is a great ride. I think most competent road cyclists could take part in that one.

Why are events like The GYRO needed?

Events like the GYRO are important just to keep our air ambulances both the one in Cumbria and the one in the North East flying.

It costs about £5.2m every year just to keep the air ambulances running.

It’s 100% down to donations and charity events put on like the GYRO to keep these aircraft operational and these clinical teams available for incidents.

I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head there that it’s 100% charity funded and you and I have both seen first-hand how big a difference it makes.

It’s a privilege for us to not only be part of the charity but to be part of this event as well, I’m really excited about it.

To find out more about the GYRO and sign up, click below:

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