Forest Green Rovers: Cyclist rides 160 miles to kick off football match

Kate Strong standing outside the football stadium alongside her bike with her arms in the air
Kate Strong said a football strapped to her bike kept her "company" along the journey

A record-breaking cyclist has travelled more than 160 miles (258km) on a bamboo bike to deliver the ball for a football match as part of a climate campaign.

Kate Strong, 44, took on the challenge to kick off Green Football Weekend at a match between Forest Green Rovers and Colchester.

The initiative aims to encourage football fans to tackle climate change.

Ms Strong, who completed the challenge in just under 15 hours, said the opportunity was "a huge honour".

Ms Strong set off from Stroud in Gloucestershire on Thursday morning with the football strapped to her bike, and arrived at Colchester at 10:00 GMT on Saturday.

"Whatever gets people connected and curious, exploring the little steps we can all take," she said.

"Obviously I'm very extreme, I don't expect anyone to do what I do, but we can all make a little difference and I think it will all add up to a better world."

Dale Vince, chairman of Forest Green Rovers Football Club, said: "It's about engaging with the world of football clubs, football fans, and getting them involved in the climate crisis by showing them what they can do to help tackle the biggest of problems."

Kate Strong riding a bike
Kate Strong works part time for Climategames and is also a performance coach

Ms Strong completed her latest challenge on a handmade bike built partly out of bamboo, which she said was organic and sustainable, as well as very light.

Ms Strong, who lives in London, was crowned age-group world champion in long-distance triathlon in 2014, and broke three world records in static cycling in 2021.

"I love sports," she said. "I love how it really helps me work out my own personal problems and gives me a lot of self esteem.

"Sport isn't about being perfect. It's about just taking action and learning along the way."

Bamboo bike frame
Ms Strong's bike frame is made of bamboo and hemp fabric, which are renewable and carbon-positive materials

The Green Football Weekend initiative, which is supported by football clubs across the country, is in its second year.

With food as the theme for this year, the Forest Green Rovers food truck was giving away plant-based burgers to fans.

"I'm really looking forward to my first football match and experiencing the buzz and atmosphere," Ms Strong said.

"But I'm also looking forward to eating my bodyweight in plant-based food. And it's all for the planet, that third or fourth burger is just because I care so much."

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