A group of young Muslims are to embark on a 600-mile cycling challenge visiting 13 mosques from Glasgow to London, including an overnight stay in Bradford, to raise £100,000 for charity.
The 25 cyclists belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association which has organised the week-long Ride4Peace to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the UK.
Starting on Sunday, the ride will continue until Saturday, June 7, with cyclists pushing themselves to the limit to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and international aid agency Humanity First.
Ilkley-based cyclist Adam Walker, the association’s press secretary, said as well as raising money for the charities, members were hoping their efforts would help dispel some of the “sweeping stereotypes” propagated against Muslims by right-wing groups.
“It was very important to visit Bradford as it is a historical place for the association,” he said. “Recent visits to the city by Britain First have given the event even more prominence.
“We do voluntary work in the Bradford community day in day out and we know how tolerant and open the majority are.
“We don’t want to march or protest. We just want to try to help others and be positive role models in society.”
Riders are due to arrive at the Masjid Al-Mahdi Mosque in Rees Way, Bradford, at 6pm on Tuesday, to end a 92-mile stage starting in Hartlepool.
At 7am next day they will ride one mile to the Baitul Hamd Mosque in Leeds Road, before embarking on a 93-mile leg to Manchester, via mosques in Huddersfield and Sheffield.
A number of local cyclists will join them for that stretch, including the son of Dr Abdul Barry Malik MBE, who was instrumental in organising a cycle marathon from Bradford to London in 1989, in which more than 100 AMYA members raised £20,000 for charity.
“I am proud the work we started has been passed down through generations and is carrying on,” said Dr Malik.
“I offer my prayers and best wishes to all the cyclists.”
For more, visit www.ride4peace.org.