Cancer charity cyclists ride from Atlantic to Med

Royan start point for group as they aim for Marseillan Plage

More than a dozen cyclists will head off from the Atlantic coast tomorrow (Saturday May 19) at the start of a 650km charity ride to the Mediterranean.

They are part of a group riding to raise money for and awareness of the charity Cancer Support France, which offers support for English-speaking cancer patients and their friends and families.

Setting off from Royan, they will cycle the Canal du Midi to reach Marseillan Plage on the Mediterranean by May 31. They would welcome vocal support along the route and Connexion will be following their progress with regular updates on the website. The route will take in Blaye, Bordeaux, La Réole, Agen, Montech, Toulouse, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Le Somail to Marseillan and Agde.

It is the fourth Cycle for Life event for CSF and their biggest yet, after last year’s ride of 200km. This year 32 people are taking part, with most doing sections to suit. There will be a maximum of 15 on each day and, while most live in France, one couple have flown in specially from the United States for the event and are doing the whole ride.

Another participant is Chris Butler and it will be her third ride. She says it is always a pleasure: “I am really enthusiastic about it. The great thing is that it is in no way competitive and there is a great spirit of camaraderie amongst the riders.

“I would say you need to have a basic level of fitness, but it is not difficult as it is mostly flat. There are support vehicles to carry your bags and spare inner tubes, so all you have to do is get on your bike and ride through the lovely countryside.

“The other aspect I like about the way it is organised is that there is no pressure to raise an enormous amount of money. Any contribution you can make is welcome. The main thing is to join in with a group of like-minded people who want to participate in an event which can help others.”

Cancer Support France was set up to support people who find dealing with the illness in a country which is not their own an added burden to the illness itself. It has a network of 15 affiliated associations across France and has helped around 2,000 people in the past 16 years.

The charity gives linguistic and practical help, and information and emotional support using highly trained volunteers, ‘Active Listeners’, who work with the ‘client’ to ensure they get the help they need. 

President Penny Parkinson said the money raised would be very welcome: “The national association has no independent means of raising funds for the support services that it provides to our local associations. This year we hope sponsorship from the Cycle for Life will raise enough to cover the costs of the annual three-day Trainers’ Conference in November, which is the most important event in the CSF year. It enables our trainers to share, discuss and develop our training, so ensuring a high quality and consistent support service across France”.

Riders would welcome support along the way - full details of the timings are available on cancersupportfrance.org You can also make a donation via www.alvarum.com/cancersupportfrance/cycle-for-life-2018

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