Staff from five different train companies are teaming up at St Pancras International in London on Thursday 14 May to cycle 365 miles for Samaritans, without leaving the station.
Up to 40 riders will take turns to pedal on one of three static bikes for 30 minutes each, aiming to cycle a total of 365 miles in just 10 hours. The distance has been chosen to reflect the 365 days a year that Samaritans’ volunteers are available round the clock to help anyone who is struggling.
The turbo challenge is being led by East Midlands Trains Head of Operations Strategy and keen cyclist, Darren Ward. He’s hoping commuters and travellers will get behind the cause.
“Every penny raised will go to Samaritans to support the incredible work they do. Life is full of challenges and sometimes, even with friends and family around you, it helps to know you can talk to someone in confidence about whatever’s getting to you. Samaritans provides that space round the clock, every day of the year.”
The riders have volunteered for the bikeathon from Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, FirstGroup Great Western, London Midland, East Midlands Trains and the British Transport Police.
Samaritans’ Fundraising Officer, Joe Curl, is hoping to drum up some musical accompaniment to power their pedalling, by encouraging commuters to play tunes throughout the ten-hour endurance test on St Pancras Station’s ‘street pianos’.
“There are a couple of pianos that anyone can turn up and play not far from where the static bikes will be. We’re hoping passers-by will play, cheer and even dance if they want to, to inspire our riders to reach their goal.
Samaritans relies almost entirely on donations. Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of all the St Pancras riders we’ll not only be raising awareness of our services, but also ensuring we’re there for people 365 days a year, wherever they need us and whatever life’s done to them.”
Network Rail Customer Service and Performance Advisor, Hayley Bull, says staffs are keen to promote awareness of Samaritans’ work. “It provides an invaluable service to so many people who need support. It has helped us enormously to develop our work in this area, thanks to their great expertise, empathy and tenacity.”
You can text SAMS15 £5 to 70070 to donate to this event and read more about Darren Ward’s fundraising for Samaritans here: www.ukvirginmoneygiving.com/BonkersBikers