By: Ruth Sharpe
TWO CYCLISTS have decided to take on a punishing route from Valencia in Spain to Albufeira in the Algarve to raise money for Silves-based charity, Castelo dos Sonhos.
Steve Grady, vice-chairman of the Algarve 41 Club and Roger Tow are both keen cyclists and have undertaken various routes over the past four years, incorporating Spain, Portugal and Morocco in order to get to the Algarve in time for each annual general meeting of the Algarve 41 Club.
Steve has a home in the Algarve and has been a regular visitor since 1988. The idea for this year’s tour came from a meeting he attended for all the Iberian based 41 Clubs held in Puerto Banus, Spain, last October.
Steve’s idea is to fly into Valencia and then cycle past every mainland 41 Club to his own club in the Algarve in time for the Annual General Meeting on May 17, where he will take over as Chairman. Steve and Roger’s route will pass clubs in Majorca, Costa del Blanca, Calpe, Nerja, Costa del Sol, Gibraltar and the Algarve.
A 41 Club consists of former Round Tablers (members have to leave the Round Table when they reach the tender age of 45) and supports the same aims and objectives of fellowship and community service. In 21 years of existence in the Algarve, the 41 Club has supported Castelo de Sonhos and many other local charities.
Steve and Roger plan to arrive in Spain on May 1, beginning their tour the following day. From the airport the route will go along the coast to Gibraltar, turning inland to Arcos in Spain, crossing the Guadalquivir river, south of Seville by ferry and then on to Portugal. The estimated distance is 1,300 kilometres including allowances for getting lost and other unforeseen diversions. This is equivalent to roughly half a million revolutions of bicycle pedals.
This year, Steve and Roger will be accompanied by fellow Algarve 41 Club member, Sam Cross, driving a support vehicle. Without the heavy weight of panniers, tools and spares Steve says the ride should be “an absolute pleasure”.
This is the first time Steve will attempt his annual ride for charity and he faced a tough decision when thinking about which charity to represent.
While considering many worthy causes, Steve met the founder of the Castelo dos Sonhos, Dra Liliana Rodrigues. According to Steve, the meeting was more than enough to convince him that the pain and suffering of the ride was more than justified by the worthiness of the cause.
The objectives of Castelo dos Sonhos is to protect, provide and care for deprived families, children and underprivileged individuals, independent of race, nationality or religion. In 2005 it provided vital aid and care, including clothing, footwear, hygiene products, furniture and food to 3,486 individuals, including 80 family units, pregnant women, needy children, disadvantaged immigrants, new-borns, the elderly and the homeless.
Currently, the charity supports a total of 10,189 individuals: immigrant families, Portuguese families, adults and children. Although the charity is officially recognised, to date it has received no state support.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]