On Sunday, 22 May, a group of university friends that grouped themselves as the ‘Magnificent Seven’ set themselves a challenge to raise money for the Cyclists Fighting Cancer charity. They are a national charity in England and Wales, founded in 2005. They help children with cancer through physical activity and exercise. Exercise has been shown to improve the mental and physical well-being of people affected by cancer, so they give lightweight and tandem bikes to children surviving cancer. Their funds come from public donations, and bike rides around Britain.
They rode from John O’Groats to Land’s End in five days and 21 hours on conference bikes, breaking the record of cycling the length of the UK (865 miles reported by Nikki Peach). The last time this happened was in the Guinness World Record in 2010. The same route was taken with the group (Team CoBi) that had 194 people, but it took them 28 days.
By doing this, The Independent reported they managed to raise more than £18,000. This money will fund 36 new lightweight bikes, tandems and special-made trikes for children with cancer. There were two teams of 15 core riders, and they cycled in shifts throughout the day and night. Lucy Hilton explains these were “200kg seven-seated bikes.” Velvo Saliko made it to work with seven riders. One steering and the other six pedalling, all seated in a circle. They had 15 core riders and a supporting crew that swapped shifts during the day and night.
This made their mission successful as they finished the challenge on 28 May. The team member of Magnificent Seven, Colin Bolton, said that “despite most of the team being experienced riders, it took a lot of mental and physical energy to keep going.” But the money that goes into supporting this charity kept them going until the end.
Another team member of this group, Jeff Kapp, an ex-elite cyclist, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008 and cycled through his cancer treatment. So, he said that raising money for cancer through cycling “was the natural thing to do.” He is living proof that exercise can help those with cancer as he said that he came out “in a much better way" than before because he rode all through his cancer treatment. He knows cancer is tough on adults but even tougher on kids, so supporting this charity felt like the right thing for him to do.
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