A TEAM of 20 cyclists hit the road today in their bid to complete a 300-mile sponsored bike ride which will help to raise vital funds for Stoke City Community Trust.
City's Head of Community Adrian Hurst was among the riders who set off on the first leg of the three-day ride which takes them to Rangers' Ibrox Stadium in Scotland.
The sponsored bike ride is the brainchild of two work colleagues at Stoke Citroen, James Bertram and Gordon Walker; one a Potters supporter, the other a fan of the Scottish club.
Therefore, the money that is raised from their exploits will go to the community schemes of both clubs and therefore support important initiatives undertaken by them.
Rangers supporter Bertram explained: "Gordon and I came up with the idea of doing the cycle ride while on a trip to India last year. There is a long association between the two clubs which goes back to the time when the Loving Cup was presented to Rangers by the Stoke President.
"We thought that raising money for the respective community schemes would be a great way for the two clubs to link up again and we hope to establish this as an annual event."
In that respect, Bertram is greatly encouraged by the support which they have already received since outlining their plans to embark upon the ride and then beginning preparations.
"The level of backing has been incredible from a whole host organisations and individuals, so much so that we have already raised our level of expectations," he added.
"At the outset, we were hoping to raise £5,000 for each charity, but now we are aiming higher than that due to the support, something which will spur us on in the coming weeks."
As well as the grand arrival in Glasgow for Rangers' final match of the season, the cyclists will also ride into City's final home game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur eight days later which has, of course, been designated as the Club's 150th Anniversary celebration match.
"It seems quite appropriate that we should be launching this fund-raising event in our 150th Anniversary year because there is great emphasis on the Club's link with the community in many of the celebrations which are taking place over the course of the year," explained Hurst.
"Therefore, we will be returning to the Britannia Stadium for the 150th Anniversary match when we play Tottenham Hotspur and we hope that a collection that day will help round off a very successful mission to provide vital funding for many more community-based projects."
The organisations who have already pledged their support for the bike ride are: Evans Halshaw, Citroen UK, The Co-operative Group, Menzies Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Swinnerton Cycles, PREM Management and the Premier League Support.
For those who wish to sponsor the cyclists, you can do so by clicking HERE