43 British & Irish business leaders successfully complete Bikes Against Bombs Cycle Challenge in Vietnam

43 British & Irish business leaders successfully complete Bikes Against Bombs Cycle Challenge in Vietnam

43 British and Irish business leaders have successfully completed the Bikes Against Bombs Cycle Challenge in support of Manchester-based charity, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).

Cycling over 400 kilometres across the two most heavily contaminated provinces in Vietnam, participants – all senior leaders from the UK’s Wholesale and Convenience Retail sector – spent five days between April 14th and 18th, overcoming gruelling conditions to complete the endurance challenge, raising so far over £270,000, exceeding their original £250,000 target.

The funding will support MAG’s life-saving work to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from current and former conflict zones around the world and return safe land to communities for agricultural and development purposes.

The Vietnam Cycle Challenge 2024 marks the ninth event of its kind. In that time, hundreds of people from across the sector have cycled across Vietnam and Cambodia (2015), Sri Lanka (2016), Laos (2018), Vietnam (2019), Cambodia (2020), UK cities (2021), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2022) and Thailand & Laos (2023), raising over £1.27 million for MAG.

Tom Fender and Neil Turton, prominent leaders in the Wholesale and Convenience Retail sector and co-founders of Bikes Against Bombs, said: “We know that land contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance has a direct impact on agriculture and food production, which can lead to significant rises in food prices right here in the UK. It’s something we have seen in recent years with the war in Ukraine, for example. MAG’s work is needed now perhaps more than ever and, as an industry, we are keen to play our part in raising awareness and financial support for their life-saving programmes. We were delighted to see a record number of participants this year – further proof that the enthusiasm for this challenge, and the work it supports, is only growing.”

Deborah Robinson, Chief Executive of Central Co-operative, added: “We are thrilled to have successfully completed this year’s bike ride. It was a tough environment, with heat and humidity, but the bond between all the riders pushed us over the finish line. To see so many of us come together in support of MAG’s work, was amazing. We knew it was more than just having fun with friends and colleagues – we were participating in something bigger than all of us and that felt incredibly rewarding. I have participated in every edition of the Bikes Against Bombs challenge and don’t intend to stop now!’”

Darren Cormack, MAG’s Chief Executive Officer, noted: “This year marks 25 years since MAG started operations in Vietnam and while the last bomb was dropped on the country over five decades ago, unexploded ordnance remains a very real threat to communities. We are tremendously grateful to all 43 participants for highlighting this important work during the bike ride and raising funds for our projects around the world. To complete such a challenge takes time, discipline, and dedication. We do not take that commitment lightly.”

With this year’s challenge successfully completed, the focus is now on 2025, which will mark 10 years since the first event: “We have been going strong for nine years and every year, we see the positive impact the bike ride has,” added Fender and Turton. “We are calling on more colleagues in our sector to join us and make next year’s bike ride the biggest yet!”

Learn more about MAG’s work here.