A team of 24 people from the UK convenience and wholesale sector has completed the Bike Bosnia challenge, cycling over Bosnia’s mountain passes and through dense forests into Sarajevo to raise funds for Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Manchester based landmine clearance charity.
This year’s Bikes Against Bombs fundraising challenge took place on 10-15 June across the Western Balkans, starting in Dubrovnik, southern Croatia and finishing in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, covering 300km of hilly terrain.
“Bosnia is a beautiful country, with stunning rivers and mountains – but it was also humbling and scary to see that over 30 years on, the number of shelled buildings – and more worrying the amount of land that is still littered with landmines, stopping farmers from farming, builders rebuilding the country and more importantly – children from being children,” said Matt Goddard, commercial director at Organix Brands and one of the participants in the ride.
With steep ascents and long days on the road, all in the summer sun, Goddard added that the ride has been a real challenge.
“Quite possibly the hardest cycle I’ve ever done, over 36 degrees heat, climbing 5-7000 ft every day – on a mountain bike,” he said.
The team aims to raise £100,000 for MAG, and they have so far collected over £95,000. The donation window is still open and donations made till July 24 will be doubled by the UK government as part of MAG’s Unlock the Land appeal.
Tom Fender, development director of TWC and one of the organisers of the event, said: “Thank you to everyone who kindly supported me and the wider trip – we are now just a few thousand pounds away from our £100,000 target. If you meant to, and didn’t, and can – any final donations gratefully received.”
The donation will be used to support MAG’s global work whilst matched gifts from the UK government will support an all-female team to clear unexploded bombs in Vangkhom village in Laos.
The annual ride was set up by Fender and industry veteran Neil Turton, who stepped down as the managing director of Sugro in April in 2015, and since then over 90 senior leaders and executives from across the industry have taken on incredible cycle challenges for MAG, raising an immense £730,000 for the charity.
Bike Bosnia was the sixth international ride – the previous five challenges have taken place in regions which, like Bosnia, are impacted by the legacy of conflict, including Laos, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The group is currently planning on returning to South East Asia in early 2023 and if you’re interest in joining the group please contact Tom, Neil or Matt.