Two of the 30 cyclists from Ely taking part in 300 mile marathon charity ride will do so on a tandem!
PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:00 18 March 2016
Thirty cyclists from Octagon Cycling Club, Ely, are pedalling 300 miles over two days in May to raise money for two local charities.
Octagon Cycling Club
Octagon cycling (www.octagoncycling.co.uk) was started about 6 years ago and has already raised over £8,000 for charities by cycling from Coast to Coast (Blackpool to Flamborough) and Isle to Isle (Anglesey to Ely).
The group is a social road cycling group that meets at 8.00am every Saturday and Sundays in Ely Market Place. New riders of all abilities are always welcome and membership is free. During the summer, additional rides are organised on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. All rides finish with, or include, coffee and cake.
For membership details go to www.octagoncycling.com
‘The 300’ is an octagon shaped route from Ely, taking in Letchworth, Aylesbury, Chipping Norton, Birmingham, Loughborough, Grantham and Spalding.
Two of the cyclists are attempting the challenge on a tandem.
The fundraising group will set off from Ely Cathedral at 6am on Saturday May 21 and is aiming to return to the Cathedral by 6pm on Sunday May 22.
Octagon Cycling Club, which is well known for fundraising as well as eating cake on their training rides, is aiming to raise £10,000. This will be shared between Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and youcanbiketoo which is a local organisation aiming to get everyone cycling, with a particular focus on people with disabilities and families riding together.
Corporate sponsors are being sought, who will have their logos on the cyclists’ team kit in return for their donation. Local businesses wishing to take part can contact Octagon Cycling through the website.
Any individuals who wish to make a personal donation can do so at http://www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/supporter/Octagon300
Robin Jones, founding member of Octagon Cycling Club and one of the tandem riders, says they have been training hard for this event: “Some have made the ultimate sacrifice and given up cake and alcohol in January and we are regularly covering 50-60 miles on weekend training rides.”
Octagon Cycling Club has very personal reasons for choosing to raise money for ACT this year, as two members have had personal experience of the care provided by Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Neil Bowman’s son Lucas was born with Supraventricular Tachycardia, a very rare heart condition resulting in a lengthy stay in the Rosie Hospital (PICU & high dependency). After a particularly traumatic few weeks Lucas went on to recover from his early heart complications due to the outstanding expertise and care from his Cardiologist, and is now a lively five-year-old.
Mr Bowman said “To be told your six week old baby is seriously ill and the next 24 hours are critical is the most devastating news any parent could possibly have to hear.
“We will be eternally grateful to Lucas’ Cardiologist and the Rosie Hospital for ensuring that Lucas recovered from his ordeal and for the on-going care we are receiving.
“To show our gratitude we will support ACT as much as we can to continue to raise vital funds for our amazing local NHS hospital.”
Fellow cyclist Andrew Turton and his family also have good reason to support ACT. Andrew’s son Edward was born with Down Syndrome and a major heart defect resulting in him spending the first four weeks of his life in NICU.
Andrew is full of praise for the hospital staff:
He said: “The level of care and support from the nursing staff and Doctors was invaluable for the whole family and Edward is now a year old and doing well.”
Both Neil and Andrew are hoping that some of the funds that Octagon Cycling is aiming to raise will be used for the Children’s Ward and also to support families going through similar experiences and requiring the use of the free on-site accommodation.