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TOUR THE FRIENDS: Team from Northwood complete fundraising bike ride between London and Portugal

 Published on: 20th May 2024   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

The leader of a team of bold Northwood men who took on a tough cycle ride last year has spoken of his experience.

Rui Mathias, together with Filipe Pinheiro, Rui Miguel Pereira, José Seara and Fernando Matias, spent 10 days between July and August 2023 completing a gruelling cycling trek from Northwood to Portugal via Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Rui said: “Everything started with the idea to just do the bike ride for fun. But when I mentioned it to my colleagues, we thought it would be a great way to raise money for charity.

Together, the fab five raised funds for mental health charity YoungMinds, as well as a four-year-old Portuguese boy called Vicente who has spinal muscular atrophy.

Rui added: “As we are all Portuguese, we decided to help someone in Portugal. We found Vicente and spoke to his parents, and we ended up raising so much more than we were expecting!”

Overall, the Tour the Friends team raised £6,288 for YoungMinds, as well as €9,000 for Vicente, which will be used to purchase medical equipment including a wheelchair.

The cycle ride was an arduous task, taking place over just a week-and-a-half and with little preparation ahead of the challenge.

Rui explained: “The only things that we had booked were the first hotel we’d be staying in at the end of the first day and tickets for the boat across to mainland Europe from Britain.

“However, that didn’t stop us, and fortunately nothing went wrong throughout the trip. I have no regrets at all!”

Speaking about how it felt to complete the ride, Rui said: “When we finally arrived in Portugal, there was a crowd of people waiting for us with Vicente. It was very emotional.”

Rui and the gang are now thinking of organising a similar challenge for a different charitable cause next year.

They have also been nominated in the Fundraiser of the Year category at this year’s mylocalHero awards.

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