Israel cyclists on track for fundraising success

21 November 2016

A group of committed cyclists is back in the UK after completing the Norwood Cycle Israel Challenge between 6-13 November.

The 55 cyclists were raising money for Norwood, the UK’s largest Jewish children’s, family and learning disability charity. The seven-day trip saw riders take in the sights of Israel’s historic Holy Land; including the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, and culminating in a lung-busting ascent of Mount Tabor. Together, they expect to raise over £200,000.

One of the riders, 53-year-old Sam Cohen, has been blind for 15 years as a result of Usher’s Syndrome. He completed the cycling challenge on a tandem bike with his lead cyclist Ashley Fulton.

Sam said: "At first I was a bit nervous because I’ve done similar things in the past and had my fingers burned. But I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did. Everything ran like clockwork, the ground staff were terrific and it was just such a wonderful experience. I was a bit worried about the social side but in the evenings everyone mixed with each other brilliantly and I just couldn’t be happier. The only thing is I’m suffering from is withdrawal symptoms now. I’ve been to spin class this morning to start preparations for next year!"

Sam’s lead rider Ashley Fulton is an experienced cyclist who has been taking part in Norwood challenges since 1999. He took his first trip to Israel with Norwood in 2011. He rides between 80km and 150km every week with his cycling club.

Ashley said: "At one point, when the ground got a bit sandy and became too much for the tandem, we did have a little fall. But all credit to Sam, he just got straight back on the bike and was raring to go again. I really can’t give Sam enough credit for what he did. We really do get on extremely well and we’re both pretty physically fit guys. So that really helped us through the trickier climbs. At first I felt a lot of pressure looking out for Sam for the whole time. But I can’t overstate what a pleasure it’s been."