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THEY get about a bit, the Pedal4Progress cycling group.
Rides of four or five hundred kilometres aren’t unusual for this dedicated team of Morning Star readers and supporters, who are based in north-west England.
Often there’s a fundraising motive attached to their treks, especially their annual marathon particularly for the Morning Star. Each marathon is known as an “Edition.”
Previously the marathon has seen them cycle from London to Paris for the annual Fete de L’Humanite festival which is attended by more than a million people and raises funds for France’s equivalent of the Morning Star, the L’Humanite newspaper.
The cyclists delivered a special bilingual edition of the Morning Star to the festival.
They cycled the route of the famous post-war 1948 Peace Race between Prague and Berlin in partnership with the Morning Star and the Czech and German sister papers Halo Noviny and Unsere-Zeit.
In 2019 they rode from the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield in West Yorkshire to the German Mining Museum in Bochum, taking with them a miner’s lamp to present on behalf of the National Union of Mineworkers.
They’ve been dispatch riders carrying solidarity messages from the Morning Star to the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom at the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival and from the Communist Party to delegates attending the Baltic Sea: Sea of Peace Conference in the port city Kiel.
Closer to home they’ve cycled to the Durham Miners’ Gala and to the last surviving historic Clarion House Club on the lower slopes of Pendle Hill outside Burnley in Lancashire.
In this year’s marathon — “the 9th Edition” — they’re cycling from Belfast to Cork in Ireland, stopping along the way at sites of historic political importance to Ireland’s struggle for freedom from British imperialism.
They left England for Belfast yesterday and the 500km (310-mile) marathon begins today.
Appropriately the starting point is Connolly House in Belfast’s Falls Road.
Explaining this year’s ride, Les Doherty, one of P4P’s organisers, said: “This year marks 100 years since the partitioning of Ireland and we have teamed up with our Irish comrades to ride the length of the country, riding through areas of historical and political importance.”
They’ll be raising funds for the Connolly Association, which was established in 1938 to support and defend Irish communities in Britain, and to unite Irish and English workers in the struggle for a free and independent Ireland.
Doherty said the ride will also honour a comrade.
“Sadly, earlier this year lifelong trade unionist and inspirational educator Mel Corry passed away (1964-2021),” he said.
“This year we are honoured to ride in his name. The ‘Mel Corry Brigade’ are on our way and we hope riding in his name can spur us on along the road and inspire our fundraising efforts.”
The journey will take the 10 riders four days, arriving in Cork — heart of Ireland’s Rebel County — on Friday.
For the first time the marathon will include a team of runners who will run the equivalent of a 26-mile marathon, also ending in Cork.
The event has been planned against the backdrop of Covid travel restrictions and details were confirmed only a week ago.
Donations to the riders’ fundraising can be made at mstar.link/P4PMelCorry.
Pedal4Progeress was formed in 2013, primarily as a fundraising platform for the Morning Star.
The group supports progressive causes and organisations, as Doherty puts it, “using cycling as the means of highlighting its work and spreading its message.”
In addition to the Morning Star, causes for which it has raised thousands of pounds include Connolly Association, Working Class Movement Library, Clarion House and the campaign group A Statue for Sylvia.
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