CYCLING nearly 500 miles through five countries in five days is a massive challenge – but that’s exactly what 28 fundraisers are going to do as they write the next chapter of the Arkriders story.

The Arkriders have been at the heart of the Ark Cancer Centre Charity campaign to raise £5million for a new NHS cancer treatment centre in Basingstoke – and now the 2019 peleton are gearing up for the Arkriders Twin Towns Tour which will take place from July 17 to 22.

In the last three years, the Arkriders – a group of cycling fundraisers whose collective number totals more than 50 riders – have piled on the pedal power from John O’Groats to Land’s End, London to Brighton, Basingstoke to Paris, and Basingstoke to Bournemouth and back, as well as organising a fundraising charity dinner. So far, they have raised more than £215,000.

On the 2017 Ark to Arc ride, the Arkriders passed through Basingstoke’s twin town Alencon on the way to Paris. The 2019 challenge will see the cyclists visit Basingstoke’s other twin towns of Braine L’Alleud, in Belgium, and Euskirchen, in Germany.

At a party at The Tea Bar on Thursday, 16 May, in Basingstoke, which saw the presentation of the Arkriders shirts, many of the 2019 Arkriders were joined by representatives from event headline gold sponsor MiniTec and silver sponsors Display Manager, LMW, Rotary Basingstoke Deane, Sixth Sense Business, Unum, Apollo Hotel, and Loft Plan.

Merv Rees, the leading liver cancer surgeon and Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee, who is a driving force behind the cancer treatment centre project, thanked the Arkriders for their efforts.

“You are a real inspiration,” Merv told the Arkriders. “Raising more than £215,000 so far for Ark is a truly awesome achievement. I, and everyone involved with Ark and the cancer treatment centre, cannot thank you enough, and we wish you good luck and every success for the Arkriders Twin Towns Tour, which is a formidable challenge.”

The 2019 Arkriders cyclists are aiming to raise £20,000 for Ark through the Arkriders Twin Towns Tour, and they have already clocked up more than £12,100.

The fundraising coffers have been boosted by more than £10,000 thanks to the support of the event sponsors, and the party raised nearly £300 more as the proceeds of a raffle were added to the running total.

To support the Arkriders, individually or collectively, make a donation at

The riders taking part in the Arkriders 2019 Twin Towns Tour will be supported by experienced cyclists from the Morvélo Basso road racing team, and Mallorca Cycling and The Road Shepherds, who specialise in cycling events and holidays.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity has raised more than £2m as it continues its appeal to help fund the new centre which will provide care and support for cancer patients and their loved ones throughout the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) area.

The success of Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s £5m appeal will ensure a range of support services and complementary therapies are available alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in a calm and uplifting environment.

The new cancer treatment centre is largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and it will be built on the Basingstoke hospital site.