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Arsenal fans plan epic charity bike ride to fight multiple sclerosis

PUBLISHED: 13:39 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:18 16 February 2016

Cyclists Jon Hill, Charles Davie, Gareth Baldwin and Edward Quigley are about to cycle from London to Paris to raise money for the MS Trust

Cyclists Jon Hill, Charles Davie, Gareth Baldwin and Edward Quigley are about to cycle from London to Paris to raise money for the MS Trust

Archant

Eight friends from Islington are saddling up to cycle from London to Paris for a multiple sclerosis charity after a friend was diagnosed with the devastating condition.

Now they are calling on Islington businesses to help them hit their target of £12,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust before they set off on May 18. The riders were a little more than £2,000 off their target as the Gazette went to press.

Their friend, who does not wish to be named, was diagnosed with MS – a neurological condition that can affect the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves – two years ago.

“It turned his life upside down,” Ed Quigley told the Gazette. “We’re talking about someone who was diagnosed in his early thirties. Up until then he had led a very active lifestyle.

“It was the first six months after he was diagnosed when he was trying to come to terms with it that were the most difficult. As a friend there’s nothing you can do apart from be there and listen – you just feel powerless.”

All in their late 20s and 30s, the friends were brought together through university and a love of Arsenal football club. With that in mind, the friends somewhat obliquely named their team PeloTonyAdaMS, a combination of “peloton”, Arsenal great Tony Adams and MS.

The 300-mile trip will take four days to complete – about eight hours of riding a day. “Some of us haven’t been on a bike since they were kids so it’s a real challenge,” Mr Quigley said.

As well as raising cash through the ride itself, the men have organised quiz nights at Islington pubs and even a fundraiser screening of the first Batman film.

“We’re hoping some Islington businesses will sponsor us so we’ve got seven spots on our cycling jerseys,” Mr Quigley added. “We’ve already managed to get a few – we just need a couple more.”

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