More than 45 intrepid cyclists have raised a whopping £7,200 and counting for FareShare, after taking part in a gruelling cross country ride last week – starting at the Fowler Welch depot in Newton Abbot in Devon and ending at the other end of the country at their depot in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
Participants could take on a single leg of the journey – ranging from 10 to 45 miles – or complete the whole challenge. The cyclists dropped in on other Fowler Welch depots en route, including Hilsea in Portsmouth, Paddock Wood and Teynham in Kent, Spalding, Nuneaton, and Heywood in Manchester. Those working within the depots weren’t left out – clocking up an impressive 2,700 miles as part of The Big Exercise Bike Challenge.
FareShare is the UK’s biggest food redistribution charity. It takes good quality surplus food from the food industry and redistributes it to charities supporting vulnerable people. The money raised so far will enable the charity to redistribute the equivalent of 30,000 meals – food that will be delivered to charities and community groups including homeless hostels, breakfast clubs and domestic violence refuges.
Karlene Leonard, a budding cyclist from Fowler Welch, said: “I didn’t take volunteering for this challenge lightly; I knew it would be difficult. My leg was 32 miles and I trained every other night. I was confident I would breeze it. I was wrong.
“The route was an uphill climb for at least 25 miles, but the spirits of the group were very high and we laughed and cried as we pushed each other all the way, knowing we were raising money for a great charity.
“We all made it and felt so proud of ourselves. I will be taking part again next year, focusing more on uphill training!”
Osman Yavas from FareShare, who cycled an incredible 500 miles as part of the challenge, said: “I’d been training, so, quite naively, thought I’d be fine, but I never realised just how extreme a challenge like this is. After the second day I could barely feel my legs. Despite the blood sweat and tears there was a fantastic sense of camaraderie – we were all in it together – raising money for a great cause. I’d recommend it to anyone. There’s nothing like the feeling of achievement you get when it’s over.”
In May, the logistics company chose FareShare as their Charity of the Year. The partnership has seen Fowler Welch employees raise money and awareness for the food charity.