THE hard work has begun for a team of cyclists from Newbury-based Bayer peddling the first leg of a 530-mile charity ride from London across five countries to Germany.
The mammoth cycle mission begins today, July 7, with 23 colleagues saddling up at Marble Arch and heading for Dover.
They will cross through northern France and Belgium into the Netherlands, before arriving in Amsterdam on Sunday, having covered 330 miles.
The team is then passing over the baton to another 45 members of staff for the second leg starting on July 16.
They will cycle a further 215 miles from Amsterdam to Bayer’s global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany.
All 68 are hoping to raise more than £35,000 for Together for Short Lives, which supports children with life-shortening illnesses and their families.
The charity also supports Newbury’s closest children and young adults’ hospices Naomi House and Jacksplace, near Whitchurch.
Bayer’s head of general medicine, Dan Coombes, said: “Outside of working hours, both teams have thought of little else but training, eating and working out how they can finish the ride still smiling and in one piece!
“We’ve all put in the miles, and I’m hugely proud of the commitment people have shown and their passion for the cause, which is to raise as much money as possible for Together for Short Lives.”
The last few days have been spent gathering together clothing and equipment the teams will need to complete the grueling challenge.
Many of the staff are not regular cyclists and have had to start training from scratch.
They will have a support crew throughout the event and be joined by Bayer colleagues in the Netherlands who will ride alongside them at the start of the second leg to keep spirits up.
Bayer is a chemical and pharmaceuticals firm based in Strawberry Hill, Newbury, which specialises in healthcare and agriculture.
The team from its business services ‘country platform’ division will be cycling the first leg, while their colleagues in general medicine will take on leg two.
So far, the teams have raised about £10,000 towards their £35,000 target.
Both have their own fundraising pages. To donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bayer-CP-Bikeride or
The general medicine team cycled from Newbury to Paris in 2014 and London to Amsterdam in 2016, raising more than £50,000 for charity.