Riders raise money for mate in epic journey through Scottish night

The riders with Bruce at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland
The riders with Bruce at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland
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A group of cyclists have completed a 170-mile journey through the Scottish night, all in the name of fundraising for a mate in need.

The Sheffielders battled the cold and dark as they rode from Airdrie in Scotland to Sunderland's Stadium of Light on Friday.

There, they watched the English Premier League match between Sunderland and Bournemouth.

The group was raising money for friend Bruce Ford, an Airdrie resident who was left seriously injured after an accident in Algarve in September.

Ride organiser Antony Boot said the ride was 'truly an amazing experience'.

"Epic is a word easily used, but for this challenge, I think fitting," he said.

It was 'very cold' on the ride, and no street lights in a lot of places meant it was very dark and surreal, Antony said.

"It was all very quiet around us and we were fairly silent as a group," he said.

Encouragement came at about 5.30am with sunrise, and crossing the border into England made for another nice feeling.

They pedaled harder again when they hit Sunderland and the Stadium of Light came into view.

The campaign to raise funds for Bruce, and the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Unit in Glasgow where he received care.

Bruce was at the ground to watch the match.

"Seeing Bruce at the Stadium of Light made it all worth it, as was the beer to celebrate," Antony said.

He praised Sunderland for its hospitality on the day.

"Bruce had been looked after," Antony said.

"What they did for us was fine, but it was more about Bruce, with them being his club."

He was almost over the aches and pains in his legs this morning.

Antony said the training over previous weeks had served him well.

"There was a bit of pain and achy legs," he said.

The riders aim to raise £10,000 for the cause, and have just over £7,000 in the kitty.

A boost came on the Friday when one of the group spoke to Simon Mayo on his Drivetime program on Radio 2 during the trip up to Scotland.

"At least £850 came in over the next couple of hours," Antony said.

"That was nice."

You can head to the website to raise money: www.rideforbruce.co.uk