Friends in cycle challenge success

TWO friends embarked on the challenge of a lifetime and raised thousands for charity in the process.

Sonia Cooper and Tina Kaylor from Los Dolses left the sandy shores of the Costa Blanca behind them to go back to basics, camping and cycling across India to raise money for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer as part of the Women V Cancer Cycle Challenge.

Organised by Action for Charity, the 350km ride took them across rural Rajasthan in five days.  “It was a fantastic experience,” said Tina, “and we raised about €8,000 for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer.”

As part of a group of 63 ladies with ages ranging from early 20’s to late 60’s, their daily routine began at 7am when they would start their cycle.  The first day broke them in with a 70km ride from Agra over the dirt roads, fields and small villages and temples to Bashawar before spending the night on a campsite.  “We had a full team with us so they would set up camp and get the food cooking and we lived off bananas and chapatti as there was only so much curry we could eat,” joked Tina.

The third day proved the most challenging for the friends as it was rocky and uphill. They welcomed staying the night in Bhadrawadi Palace, “although the tents were better!”  The owner of the palace then donated 63 uniforms, one for each of his guests, to the local school children.  Sonia said: “We went through some immensely poor areas, they were literally just eating to live.  We visited children in schools and gave them pencils and you would have thought we had given them gold bullions.  In some respects you wish you could take the kids here so they can see how lucky they really are.”

The pair laughed and joked their way to the finish line making new friends and life long memories along the way.  Money is still being donated for their efforts and will now be given to a local charity.  In the meantime Tina and Sonia are already planning their 2014 adventure. “We will take this year off but 2014 is looking good, maybe Cuba or China….”

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