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Spots filling fast on Transaid’s 2012 London to Paris bike ride

Spots are filling fast on Transaid’s 2012 London to Paris bike ride, which aims to raise £100,000 to benefit the charity’s Professional Driver Training Project in Zambia and Tanzania.

The ride, organised in partnership with CILT, FTA, RHA and TFL, has already attracted great interest amongst the industry, and has also acquired the sponsorship of tyre company Bandvulc.

"Bandvulc was a founding member of Transaid and we have supported its efforts for years," says Bandvulc Founder and Director Richard O’Connell. "It’s a great pleasure to join Transaid for this exciting event."

In Lancashire, the ride has captured the imagination of a three-strong team at Clitheroe-based Backhouse Jones Solicitors. Instead of just riding the 192 miles from London to Paris, solicitor Scott Bell and his colleagues Andrew Woolfall and Steven Meyerhoff decided to add another 270 miles to the ride by setting out a few days early from their offices.

"We like to go the extra mile at Backhouse Jones," Bell says. "And this seemed like another opportunity to do so, if we could raise as much as £10,000 for Transaid."

To bolster their fundraising efforts the three lawyers donned a variety of costumes over their Lycra shorts to pose for publicity photos. They also completed a number of "sportif" training rides including a 90-mile route from Liverpool to Chester and back, and even a 100-mile event in the Ribble Valley run by British cycling hero Bradley Wiggins.

"Interest is building throughout the industry about this year’s London to Paris bike ride," says Gary Forster, chief executive of Transaid. "We’re very pleased to see so many senior executives joining and raising funds for our vital work!"

Bridgend County Council Passenger Transport Officer Tony Hart was the first participant in the challenge to reach his fundraising target. By day, Hart organises school transport for 6,000 children across the borough, contracting with a fleet of more than 100 private operators.

By night, Hart has sacrificed his weekday evenings, weekends and even the possibility of a summer holiday abroad to focus on training rides around Wales this summer. He even managed to persuade two local taxi firms to sponsor some training jerseys.

"I was very lucky in my fundraising because I have direct contact with many of the bus and taxi people in the Bridgend area," Hart says. "I focused on the transport aspect of Transaid to capture their imagination, coupled with the ‘how much would you pay to see me suffer?’ approach."

Transaid’s mission not only appealed to Hart as a transport professional but also as the father of two sons and grandfather of four, aged 52.

"We know that in an emergency the transport to hospital would be taken care of," Hart says. "And there would be an ambulance available if necessary. That’s not the case in some of the regions Transaid works in."

There are still free spaces on the 50-strong pedal to the French capital set for a long weekend this October 5-8. The challenge is open to anyone working within the transport and logistics industry and willing to raise sponsorship of £1,500. For further information visit http://www.transaid.org/london-to-paris-cycle-ride, or contact Aggie Krasnolucka-Hickman at Transaid on +44 (0) 20 7387 8136 or aggie@transaid.org.

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