Arsenal fans set for London to Paris charity bike ride London to Paris 2016 - Team PeloTonyAdaMS Full view

Arsenal fans set for London to Paris charity bike ride

Eight Islington locals are preparing for their incredible charity bike ride, to raise money for multiple sclerosis after one of their friends had been diagnosed with the disease.

Edward Quigley, Jon Hill, Charles Davie, Gareth Baldwin, Alexander Tsirigotis, Matthew Edwards, Richard Dunmall and Simon Hunt will be cycling from London to Paris on May 18th to raise money for the MS Trust. The friends all met through Arsenal or University, and all but one are Arsenal fans.

The idea came from Jon who suggested that a bike ride could raise some money for the MS Trust, which would be a way for them to do something extra to support their friend. Soon after, others from their friendship group were keen to join in. Ed Quigley, one of the cyclists said, “The next thing we knew, we had a team of eight who were all prepared to train and then cycle from London to Paris!”

Their friend was diagnosed with MS two years ago – a disease which affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves – and the team explain how hard it’s been since he had this life-changing diagnosis. “He has given up so much of what he loves and each day he battles to complete things that we take for granted. He’s amazing really and we’re all in awe of him and his relentless positivity through it all.” They added that the MS trust provide support and information for those affected by the disease so, “the money will go to supporting their activities and our efforts will raise the awareness of MS.”

The trip itself is around 260 miles and the team hope to complete it within four days, which works out at around eight hours of riding per day. The first day will be the toughest, as they will be under pressure to complete 95 miles by 3.30pm to make it to the ferry from Dover.

The team have already had lots of support from Islington. Ed says it’s really important to have the support of their local borough for this, explaining, “£12,000 is a lot of money and it’s fair to say that some of us were daunted by the challenge of raising that much. When it comes to Islington, we’ve had a great response from residents, businesses, media and so on.”

MS 1
Jon Hill, Charles Davie and Simon Hunt

They have already raised over £10,000 and are hoping to hit their target of £12,000 before they set off. Now the team, called PeloTonyAdaMS, are trying to get more support from Islington businesses. “We realised early on that we were unlikely to hit £12,000 just through direct donations, so we wanted to come up with events that people would want to participate in. The Tollington Arms have been particularly supportive, hosting quizzes and collection pots on the bar.”

Some other fundraisers include a go-kart tournament and two quizzes, which have raised a total of £1,500. There’s another event coming up on the 24th of March which will be a screening of the 1989 Batman film at The Water Poet pub. “There will be fancy dress and a disco after. Venues have been great in giving us space for free or at discounts that allow us to raise money for the MS Trust,” the team said. Ed is also running his first half marathon on the 28th of February as part of his training, so this will be another opportunity for sponsorship and people to get involved.

Before they begun training, only a few of them were regular and confident cyclists. Three of them hadn’t been on a bike since they were kids so the team had to spend money on bikes and equipment before they started. Training slowed down for the team in the winter months but most of them are now getting out on their bikes each week to get prepared as the start date nears.

Now the guys have seen how much support they’ve been getting, they want to go beyond the £12,000 mark. “We have some money from Islington businesses who want to sponsor our shirts (although we need more as we have more slots left). We just want to raise as much as we can for MS Trust because that will make us feel like we’ve been able to do something for our friend, other than support him directly as we’ve tried to do since his diagnosis.”

To help Team PeloTonyAdaMS hit and exceed their target by May, donate here and follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with their fundraisers and milestones.

Written by Ceylan Kumbarji

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