US Cycle Ride Raises £6,000 for Microloan Foundation

Friends complete epic journey across North America

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Three friends – Phil Elks, James Doble and Jason Bliss, all aged 23 – have just completed an epic journey across North America by bicycle on behalf of local Chiswick charity The MicroLoan Foundation which makes small loans to people in the developing world to help them become more self-sufficient.

The boys rode 3,959 miles from Oregon, on the Pacific coast to the Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts. To reach the coast, they had traversed the Rocky Mountains in Montana, across the Great Plains of Wyoming and South Dakota, and around the Great Lakes. This adventure took 59 days, which works out an average of over 75 miles a day on the bikes. And all this carrying everything from tents to food supplies on the back of their bikes.

James Doble remembers the exhaustion of spending three days riding in the Rocky Mountains. He was waking up at night with cramp in his legs and ‘too tired to roll over’, before setting off again at 6.30 the next morning to climb 4,000 feet over the next pass. But every long climb was followed by an exhilarating freewheel downhill, and all the boys agree that their effort was really worthwhile. Among the highlights of the trip was riding into Niagara, with the cooling mist from the falls in their faces.

But what made the trip really worthwhile was the amount of money they raised for The MicroLoan Foundation. Phil Elks explains: ‘The team are raising money for The MicroLoan Foundation, an exciting, West London-based charity. The foundation makes small loans, often as little as £15, to groups of people in developing countries such as Malawi. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries where the average life-expectancy is, unbelievably, only forty-five. These loans are used to start small businesses, enabling the people to support, feed and educate their families in the long-term.’

So far, they have raised over £6,000 for MicroLoan. Supporters of the MicroLoan Foundation can also get involved in MicroLoan’s Grand Walk on Sunday 24 September. The 50km route along the Grand Union Canal passes many familiar city landmarks including London Zoo, Camden Market and Lords Cricket Ground. Patron Gabby Logan will begin the walk at Brentford Lock at 9am which will end at Limehouse later in the day.

September 21, 2006