Cyclists complete the challenge from Glasgow to Athens and raise nearly £ 100,000

Cyclists complete the challenge from Glasgow to Athens and raise nearly £ 100,000

A group of cyclists completed the challenge from Glasgow to Athens, raising nearly £ 100,000, surviving a vomited insect and even stroking a rescue pig along the way.

Thighs of Steel, a community of cyclists, embarked on a nine-week relay race from Glasgow to Athens, which began on July 16 and ended on September 17, to raise money for the charity MASS Action, with the participation of around 100 different cyclists. the cycle at various points.

The group raised around £ 93,000 from their £ 100,000 goal and cycled through countries including France, Italy, Croatia and Albania, with the latter country creating one of the “hardest moments of the whole trip”.

People sitting and standing next to each other

Georgie Cottle said cycling in Albania created one of the hardest times for the team as many members had a vomiting bug (David Charles / PA)

“A group of us had a vomit bug after swimming in Lake Skadar [in Albania]Georgie Cottle, 28, a volunteer coordinator with the charity Scottish Detainee Visitors, told the PA news agency.

“The amazing thing, though, was how those who weren’t sick stepped forward to take care of everyone else, cooking us regular pasta with salt and olive oil.

“Somehow we managed to get back on the saddle the next day and climbed Mount Dajti, the top of the mountain that overlooks Tirana, Albania.

“It was one of the biggest descents of the trip, down into a canyon, through two road tunnels at 60 km / h and across a suspension bridge with birds of prey flying alongside.”

He added that the thought of pedaling “even an inch seemed inconceivable the day before,” but the group’s support network prompted all riders to make the climbing feat.

Thighs of Steel Charity Tour

Thighs of Steel riders swimming wild (Philippa Jeacocke / PA)

Fellow cyclist Tammy Friend, 38, a speech and speech therapy student, said that “one person’s sting is everyone’s sting,” adding: “Thighs of Steel’s ‘all-together’ vibe is one and the same. special”.

As the 5,000km cycle drew to a close via a steep climb up “one of Athens’ most famous hills” – Mount Lycabettus – Ms. Cottle said the group felt “both excited and discouraged.”

“We cycle together, of course, but we cook and eat together, go shopping together, fill each other’s water bottles and set up tents together,” he said.

“We all help each other in so many ways that I really think I can’t look after myself on my own anymore.”

When the group reached the top, “they rolled down the hill to get falafel and beers at a local bike shop, Vicious Cycles Athens.

People cycling on a road on a mountain

Georgie Cottle said the ride would not have been possible without the generous support of the public (David Charles / PA)

Ms. Cottle added that the trip would not have been possible without the support of the 2,700 donors who “donated some of their hard-earned money to the cause” or the “hundreds of kind, generous and hospitable people we met along the way.”

He added: “The people who filled our water bottles, translated the Albanian road signs for us, pointed us to the right way to the best snacks, let us stroke their rescue pig or invited us into theirs. gardens for the night “.

The money raised will be distributed to projects and organizations by MASS Action once the cycle is over, with Khora – an international collective providing hot food, asylum support, creative workshops and clothes to migrants in Athens – being one of the places they will receive. money.

Thighs of Steel Charity Tour

Thighs of Steel riders arrive in Bristol (Joe Bourdillon-Schicker / PA)

“Khora was funded largely by cyclists from Thighs of Steel and had a huge impact in her neighborhood,” Jessie Sullivan, 28, a PhD student at UCL and told PA news agency. volunteer at MASS Action.

“They serve thousands of meals a week and have continued to serve the population during Covid by delivering meals by bicycle. This is how a huge part of the community was fed during the pandemic. “

He added that the cycle money will also help finance the Mazi Housing Project, which provides housing for single men, who may be “excluded from housing projects due to some assumptions made about men from non-Western places.”

“So it’s really cool to see those men get the support they need and, once those basic needs are met, start thriving in other ways – maybe get a job, join other organizations, and maybe become a leader in their community.” , he added. .

More information on steel thighs and their cycle can be found via this link:

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