When 26 Milton Keynes cyclists headed to Holland in a final push to raise funds for MK Rugby Club, they didn’t know just how literal that push would be.
For the third annual MK Ring of Fire trip, the team - supported by a crew of eight volunteers and five support vehicles - covered almost 400 miles from the beaches of Dunkirk to the Hook of Holland in just three days over the bank holiday weekend. So far, their efforts have raised more than £30,000 to help MKRUFC continue to bring rugby to young people in the community.
The riders, a collection of experienced and amateur cyclists, battled punctures and downpours along the route, which took in landmarks including WW2 war graves and the infamous ‘bridge too far’ at Arnhem.
Pedalling through sand dunes just 12 miles from the finish line, a broken bicycle chain looked set to scupper the team’s chances of making the homebound ferry.
Chris Bridgman, ex-support crew and first-time Ring of Fire rider said: “One of the rider’s chains broke while they were out of reach of any support vehicles. The team tried to replace it with their basic tools but had no luck, so it was decided that a few of the younger and fitter guys would push him up the hills and let him coast down. That way, we made the ferry with just 15 minutes to spare.”
Gary Spinks, MK Ring of Fire organiser, added: “It was a fantastic achievement. We started these events three years ago with four riders and this year we’re up to 26. Their efforts have hugely paid off as we’re on course to reach our target of £50,000 to help make sure we can carry on sharing the sport we all love with local young people.”
To donate, readers can visit https://localgiving.org/appeal/mkrufcringoffire18/
MKRUFC’s fundraising efforts will continue on Saturday 16 June when the club hosts Rugby 7s tournament MK Ruggerfest. The festival is open to all, offering local music, food, beer - and rugby!
Find out more at https://www.mkruggerfest.co.uk/