Charity cyclists vow to complete Rome to Paris ride after all their kit is stolen

Support van, race bikes, passports and money nicked just hours before the ride was due to start

by Dave Atkinson   April 19, 2014  

For Luca - Rome to Paris

A group of cyclists who had their entire ride inventory – including the support van – stolen just hours before their ride was due to start have vowed to complete the journey anyway.

The intrepid riders – Adam Steed, Michael Keenan, Nick Louch, Rhys Jenkins and Toby Rattray – are raising money for the Tree of Hope charity by completing a 1000-mile non-stop relay that includes a number of gruelling alpine passes. Their inspiration is  young friend Luca Williams, who lost both his legs aged just three years old after contracting Meningococcal Septicaemia.

But an update on their facebook page on Saturday evening revealed that their plans have had to be radically revised. "Rhys and the boys had the hire van, 4 race bikes, passports, money, phone, bike equipment, supplies and their bags stolen from Rome earlier today just before their planned set off time", it reveals.

"If you ever wanted to hear the measure of humble men, Rhys said... 'We can still do it... We have one bike to share for the relay and some bike gear to use. We've come this far... I am even thinking how I could ride the 1000 miles on my own?'"

The response from social media has been swift and impressive: their total now stands at over £4,500 when their original target was just £1,000, and 500 of the 600 donations have come in this evening. If you feel like chucking them a few quid for their never-say-die attitude, the JustGiving page is at www.justgiving.com/Rome2ParisForLuca