Pedal power as thousands cycle for charity

Mark Beaumont waves on his arrivat at Murrayfield Stadium. Picture: Scott Taylor

Mark Beaumont waves on his arrivat at Murrayfield Stadium. Picture: Scott Taylor

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Thousands of cyclists have got on their bikes in the UK’s biggest mass cycling event, pedalling from Glasgow to Edinburgh to raise money for charity.

More than 6500 riders took part in the 16th annual 47-mile ride from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium, with children pedalling alongside their parents for a fun family ride across the Central Belt.

Dr Mike Dixon and the rest of his 'Marvels' after their 47-mile trek.Picture: Scott Taylor

Dr Mike Dixon and the rest of his 'Marvels' after their 47-mile trek.Picture: Scott Taylor

Another 700 took on the leg-busting challenge of a 110-mile Sportive route that winds through the Southern Uplands taking in 2400 metres of climb.

One of those taking part was Western General Hospital breast cancer surgeon Dr Mike Dixon, who was raising money for charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer to help pay for better drugs that are tailor-made for individual patients.

His team of fundraisers, dubbed Mike’s Marvels, have raised £55,000 for the charity in the past four years, which the world-renowned surgeon says has been collected in the name of his patients, “who could never complete such challenges . . . so I do it in their stead”.

Speaking from the finish line, he said: “We all went as a team and cycled together. There was real camaraderie amongst the group. It was a really lovely day. We did it quicker, we were happier, and we’re in better nick than last year having finished it. We had a great day raising money and keeping fit.” The 12-strong Breakthrough Breast Cancer team raised £7000 all in all.

Cyclists were waved off in Glasgow by Commonwealth Games double silver medallist Louise Haston and round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont.

One of the youngest riders yesterday was seven year-old Azim Ghafoor. The Sciennes Primary pupil has so far raised £378 for the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal, and insisted on cycling the full 47 miles alongside dad Afzal and uncle Habib Ghafoor.

Azim said: “I am really grateful to all my fellow cyclists who have been supporting and encouraging me throughout this journey.”

Mmum Shamim said: “Azim is an achiever and when he puts his mind to something there is no stopping him! I am a very proud mum and am so pleased that he has taken on such a big challenge at this young age.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com