Epic pedal power raises £12,000

EPIC achievements were clocked up on Saturday as cyclists raised more than £12,000 on a charity bike ride. Fifty five people took part in the Downslink Challenge 2017, based at The Garibaldi pub in Knaphill.

Of these, 15 rode 48 miles to Brighton and back and 40 cycled from the seaside resort to the pub.

And four added two hours, and 18 miles, to their journey by completing an extra “butt breaker” challenge. The riders raised money for Woking Hospice and The Orpheus Centre special care home at Godstone.







Organiser Steve McKeown told the News & Mail: “Needless to say the ride was a roaring success and more than £2,000 alone was raised by a fun day at The Garibaldi. “The crowds cheered and clapped every single rider over the finish line which for some riders stirred some emotion. Many people present were so impressed by the day that they approached me about riding in the event next year.”

Much of the ride route was on the Downs Link path, which follows disused railway lines from Guildford to Shoreham by Sea. The there-and-back cyclists, on the Century route, set off for Brighton at 6am. The one-way riders, on the Challenge route, were taken to the resort by road and began their trip at 10am.

All participants were given the option of the extra 18 miles when they arrived at Guildford while travelling up from the coast. This was to follow the River Wey to New Haw and then the Basingstoke Canal to St John’s and then on to Knaphill.

The added section was completed up by Tony Lanzalaco and Craig Phelan on the Challenge and Steve Mckeown and Jerry Peacock on the Century route.

The Orpheus Centre was chosen as a beneficiary because it looked after Steve’s nephew Gary Wheeler, who suffered from muscular dystrophy. Steve heard that Gary had died, aged 30, during last year’s ride and wanted the 2017 ride to support the centre.

The Garibali’s fundraising day was completed with music in the evening from local band Blackbird and several auctions.

Items on sale included a signed David Attenborough Book which went for £110, a signed Paul Weller CD with various Jam memorabilia (£200), a signed Fulham FC shirt (£101) and a squad signed Chelsea shirt (£420).

“The whole day is created and run by the local community and is testimony to the good human spirit that still exists in people,” added Steve.

The organisers are aiming to reach their fundraising target of £15,000. Donations can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/downslink.

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