THE BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge is returning but with a difference – and it’s all kicking off in Somerset.

This year, to keep everyone COVID safe, instead of the riders coming to the rickshaw, for the first time the rickshaw is going to them.

The Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge will see Matt Baker and team take on a relay-style ride in five chapters, with each rider taking a leg each, travelling through their hometowns and visiting places which hold a particular significance for them along the way.

As the challenge enters its 11th year, Matt will be there to pass the “rickshaw baton” between these five inspirational young people.

Who is taking part in the BBC CiN Rickshaw Challenge?

This year’s team is made up of five young people from across the UK who have all been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects.

The first leg starts in Bristol with Somerset teenager, Thomas, taking the baton.

In September 2018, 16-year-old Thomas had his world turned upside down. Tom’s Mum, Ceri, and Dad, Rod, both NHS workers, travelled into work together and were involved in a devastating crash on the M5.

The collision resulted in Rod losing his life and left Ceri critically injured, told she may never walk again.

However, Ceri recovered and has since ran 10K to raise money for South West Ambulance Service.

This catastrophic event completely changed Tom’s life, as he started to process a mixture of emotions, resulting in receiving support from BBC Children in Need funded project, The Space.

The Space delivered weekly one-to-one counselling sessions to Tom and continued to support and guide throughout lockdown.

Thomas said: “School went very easy on me for a long time and that wasn’t what I wanted, I didn’t want special treatment.

“I was able to talk to The Space who gave me the support I needed – I can’t thank them enough for being there for me at such a hard and devastating time in mine and my family’s life.

“I’m looking forward to channelling my energy into executing The Rickshaw Challenge with Matt and the team.”

Over the course of ten years, The Rickshaw Challenge has raised more than £41million for the charity. Viewers have witnessed Matt Baker and young people tackle routes located across the UK including Edinburgh to Cambridge and Llandudno to Reading.

The BBC CiN Rickshaw Challenge route

This year, from November 1 to 5, the team plan to ride more than 142 miles between them. After Tom’s leg of the relay, the baton will pass to Manchester, Liverpool, Ulverston and, taking a nostalgic turn, finishing back in Edinburgh, where it all started back in 2011.

Route timeline:

  • November 1 – Somerset, Bristol
  • November 2 – Media City, Manchester
  • November 3 – Southport
  • November 4 – Ulverston, Cumbria
  • November 5 – Edinburgh, Scotland

Speaking of this year’s Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge, Matt Baker said: “I can’t wait to join Harrison, Millie, Liv, Rainbow and Thomas for the 11th Rickshaw Challenge and together, raise money for BBC Children in Need.

“The first-ever Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge special programme will provide a behind the scenes look at how we get the Rickshaw on the road and the trials and tribulations over an incredible week with some inspirational young people.

“It’s been a big part of my life over the last 10 years and I’m over the moon we’ve managed to find a way of it happening again and show viewers how their donations help change young lives.”

Members of the public are welcome to show their support while team Rickshaw are on the road but are encouraged to do so in line with COVID-19 regulations.

Donations this year will be text-to-donate with more details to follow. Donations can also be made online via

For real-time updates on how the team are getting on, follow BBC CiN on social media to see behind the scenes and to show support to the team.

BBC Children in Need welcome any keen cyclists to go the distance and ‘Pedal for Pudsey’ to join the 2021 fundraising mission. Whether cycling round town or taking part virtually, members of the public can get involved in their own sponsored cycles - more information on how to set up a sponsorship page and to download a free ‘Pedal for Pudsey’ kit at