Cyclists Set Off on 500-Mile Challenge to Bordeaux

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By Paramount PR | Friday, June 15, 2012, 10:28

CYCLISTS from across the South West region have set off on a gruelling challenge travelling from Bristol to Bordeaux in aid of the special needs inclusive charity, PROPS.

A team of 59 riders left Bristol Temple Quays this morning (Weds) to take part in the annual Pedal for Props Bristol to Bordeaux cycle challenge.

Their aim is to raise around £50,000 for PROPS, an organisation providing opportunities and support for those with special needs.

The 500-mile ride will take four days with the cyclists from Bristol, south Gloucestershire, Bath and North Somerset getting on the saddle daily, stopping only to rehydrate.

PROPS, a Bristol-based organisation survives by generating its own funds through sporting events such as this ride and the development of social enterprises for those with special needs.

Matthew Eccles, a regular Props cyclist, said: "We have 59 riders taking part including four young people with learning disabilities. That integration is an important part of the bike ride.

"We aim to raise £50,000 but the event is not only about raising money, it's also about giving these young people life experiences such as social interaction, life skills and the development of healthy lifestyles.

"Cycling to Bordeaux is the culmination of a lot hard project work for these youngsters."

The Props students taking part are Stuart Moss, 18, Frank LeMoir, 20 and Matthew Robinson, 19.

Frank, who was born with Down's Syndrome completed last year's event on a tandem but will be flying solo this year after being taught to ride a bike by the charity.

He said: "I can't wait. I'll be on my own bike, so I'll really feel like I'm doing it all by myself."

Stuart and Matthew, who have learning difficulties, are also looking forward to the event with Stuart taking part for the first time, while Matthew is a veteran rider.

Matthew said: "I loved it last year. We had such a laugh with the other cyclists, and we made real friends on the journey, and I'm really looking forward to helping out with keeping the bikes working."

The other team members are supporters of the PROPS charity including youngest rider Eve Trivett, 10, and the oldest rider Geoff Taylor of Winford, 71, demonstrating age is no barrier.Another rider, Kevin FitzGerald, 32, of Weston-super-Mare, is doing the ride as part of recovery from a knee reconstruction and said: "It's fair to say, having only done a few half marathons in the past, that this is the biggest challenge I have undertaken.

"Training has been tough. We are all raising as much money as we can for a fantastic local charity and hope we cannot just meet our target but exceed it."

The Bristol to Bordeaux bike ride was the brainchild of David Reeves, head of Briarwood's sixth form, who founded the organisation at The Vassall Centre more than a decade ago.

He said: "We realised there needed to be some sort of structure in place to help students develop their lifelong learning pathways when they finish in formal education, so we set up Props.

"We're not reliant on public funding, which is very difficult to come by. Most of our funding is generated by fundraising, and by ensuring the work the students do with us – mostly in social enterprises like sign making, printing and farm based activity – actually draws a profit, albeit a modest one.

"There is absolutely nothing like getting on a good stretch of open road on the way down through France and seeing these young guys enjoying the freedom of that kind of cycling. It makes all the hard work that goes into organising this well worth every moment."

To make a donation to the charity bike ride visit www.justgiving.com/teamprops or for further information contact PROPS on 0117 9653514.

      

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