SCORES of Sunderland cyclists overcame “horrendous” weather and treacherous road conditions to raise thousands of pounds for worthy charities.
More than 80 riders pedalled from Nenthead in Cumbria to Wearside in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice and Cancer Research UK.
The annual bike ride, which finishes at the Chesters Pub near Sunderland city centre, is now in its 19th year and has generated more than £110,000 for worthy causes on Wearside during that time.
Organiser David Hood, of Millfield, said those taking part had to dig deep to complete the journey, with wind, rain and fog hampering their efforts.
“It was horrendous,” said the 59-year-old, who was part of a support team travelling in a van to assist the cyclists.
“The cyclists couldn’t see 20 yards in front of them because of the freezing fog and we lost a few people early on after they took wrong turns and some had problems with punctures too.
“Some of the finishers said it felt as though they had climbed Everest, they think it’s the most difficult thing they have done in their lives.
“Six or seven actually packed in not long after we set off, but most managed to finish.
“But thankfully there were no accidents and it was a great day.”
Workers from crane firm Liebherr, Sunderland Royal Hospital and Northumbrian Water as well as members of running group Sunderland Strollers were among those who carried out the 50-mile ride.
“We have to say a big thank you to all of the families and friends of the riders who have sponsored them,” added David.
“We get around £5,000 in each year, which is a brilliant effort.”