Arkriders rise to Twin Towns Tour challenge

They've done it! Thirty fabulous Arkriders have cycled 500 miles through five countries in five days – and their fundraising has taken the group’s total past the £250,000 milestone.

The Arkriders have been at the heart of the community campaign to raise £5million for a new NHS cancer treatment centre in Basingstoke – and now the 2019 peleton have piled on the miles, and the pounds, in the latest formidable feat.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity has raised more than £2m as it continues its appeal to help fund the new centre which will provide care and support for cancer patients and their loved ones throughout the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) area.

In the last three years, the Arkriders – a group of cycling fundraisers whose collective number totals more than 50 riders – have piled on the pedal power from John O’Groats to Land’s End, London to Brighton, Basingstoke to Paris, and Basingstoke to Bournemouth and back, as well as organising a fundraising charity dinner.

On the 2017 Ark to Arc ride, the Arkriders passed through Basingstoke’s twin town Alencon on the way to Paris – and now the Class of 2019 have visited Basingstoke’s other twin towns of Braine L’Alleud, in Belgium, and Euskirchen, in Germany.

The 30 Arkriders were cheered off from Basingstoke by family, friends and supporters, including family and friends and representatives from event headline gold sponsor MiniTec and silver sponsors Display Manager, LMW, Rotary Basingstoke Deane, Sixth Sense Business, Unum, Apollo Hotel, and Loft Plan, on July 17.

Over the next five days, they were tested to their limits on a challenging route that saw them complete more than 21,000 feet of hill climbing.

Ark supporter Mark Dolby, director of Beaufort Financial (Reading), came up with the idea for the Arkriders Twin Tours Challenge, and said he and the other Arkriders from the Class of 2019 were delighted to complete the 500-mile journey.

“This was an awesome achievement for every one of the Arkriders who took part,” said Mark: “The Arkriders Twin Towns Tour team have put in a lot of hard work, time and effort to prepare for this challenge, and we are grateful to everyone who has supported the riders, individually and collectively.

“We received wonderful welcomes from the reception parties in Braine L’Alleud and Euskirchen, and were cheered on by people along the whole journey. There were some really tough times, but when the going gets tough, the Arkriders keep pedalling.”

Mark Jones,  was among the cyclists making his Arkriders debut in the saddle.

He said: “It was an absolute privilege and honour to take part in the Arkriders Twin Towns Tour challenge, and the wonderful support from generous donors and sponsors means that the Arkriders Town Towns Tour has raised £47,000, and the Arkriders have now raised more than £250,000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity since 2016, which is just tremendous.”

If anyone wants to support the Arkriders, individually or collectively, they can still make a donation by going to https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/twintowns19

The riders taking part in the Arkriders 2019 Twin Towns Tour were wonderfully supported by experienced cyclists from the Morvélo Basso road racing team, and Mallorca Cycling and The Road Shepherds, who specialise in cycling events and holidays.