Cyclists Leave Portsmouth For Scotland

A group of cyclists from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance are preparing for the start of a very unusual race

On May 25 a 6,000 tonne section of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth left BAE Systems' Portsmouth yard by barge, heading for Babcock's Rosyth dockyard in Fife.

The hull section of the warship,leaving Portsmouth

And just a few days later, on Friday 25 May, the cyclists will set off by road, chasing it all the way to Rosyth and raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

On the first day the team will clock up 125 miles cycling from Portsmouth to Northampton. The second day will see them pedal 102 miles to Sheffield. On day three they need to cover 120 miles to Durham. Day four will take them all the way to Berwick upon Tweed. Their last day will see them make a stop in Edinburgh city centre, where they will be joined by another group of local cyclists for the final leg to Rosyth.

Organiser, Kirsty Noble, said:

"All the cyclists are part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, the group of companies charged with constructing and delivering two new aircraft carriers to the Royal Navy.

"Moving this section of the first Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is a major milestone in the programme to construct the ship, so we wanted to organise an event to mark it.

"We'll be timing the block and the cyclists, and it's going to be a close race! To stand a chance of beating the block the team needs to cover 500 miles in just five days. But they are determined to do it – and to raise thousands of pounds at the same time."

Steven Carroll, Queen Elizabeth Class Project Director at BAE Systems, said:

 "Beat the Block is a great way to not only mark this significant stage in the carrier programme, but also raise money for a charity which supports the men and women of our armed forces. The cyclists face a tough few days ahead so I encourage people to get behind the challenge and show support to the cyclists on route."

All the money raised will go to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity.

To follow the progress of the team as they try to 'beat the block', or to pledge sponsorship money visit or get regular updates on twitter at @QEClassCarriers