The Marketeers, a group of cyclists representing the Market Bar in Stonehaven, are in final preparation for the Ride the North event.
The group are taking on the challenge in memory of Mark Anderson, a well known local landlord who owned the Market Bar and who sadly passed away.
Ride the North is a 170-mile cycling challenge from Inverness to Aberdeen.
The group have applied for charity status to allow funds raised to go directly to the Maxillofacial Unit at ARI which helped Mark while battling a brain tumour.
A whole host of events have been organised by the local community to help with the fundraising efforts. These included a pub quiz by Ride in the North with the Marine Hotel helping to organise the bar, a Cowboy and Indian evening organised by Ma Simpsons, and help from the Mackie Mammoths who are also cycling the Ride the North.
Andy McAllan, one of the Marketeers, said: “We decided to design our own cycling tops and sold advertising space on them too.
“The majority of the money received has been from the local people of Stonehaven. They have been amazing and many times I have been stopped in the street and handed money. We have received donations ranging from a fiver to £300.
“We are still hopeful that we will have our online donation page up and running before the big day but people can still donate by popping into the bar and also having a look at our Marketeers Wall which shows the name of everyone who has donated and our progress so far.”
The group have trained continuously and covered more than 3000 miles over the months with one member, Alistair Chapman, shedding over two stones in this time.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing as Mark’s son, Shane, who is team captain, contracted glandular fever which drained him completely of energy. It was suggested he should give the ride a miss this year but the Anderson spirit in him has seen him fight back and continue to get ready for the event.
The group’s latest donation has seen a loan of a large van that will be used as a support vehicle for the seven riders, their bikes and kit. Local plumber John McKenzie has volunteered to drive the vehicle.
Andy added: “I had 10 days off the bike due to my daughter being born and it was tough getting back into it again but a hard slog up the Cairn o Mount with Ronnie soon got the legs going again.
“We have a bus leaving from the Market that will take our supporters to the finish line of the event on Saturday, August 30, and it is sure to be a proud and emotional time when Shane leads us over the line in memory of his dad. There are still some spaces available at no cost.
“We intend to take part in the Stoney Bike Ride on the day after our cycle and we are encouraging all our friends and family to take part with us to show how the people of Stonehaven can pull together.
“I had no idea when I first suggested to Mark and Lorna about organising the bike ride how much work and effort it would take or that Mark wouldn’t see it happen.
“The Maxillofacial Unit gave Mark extra time with us.’’