Railway staff get into the saddle to raise money for new Youth Oncology Unit at Manchester's Christie hospital...

While most of us will be knocking off work for the weekend round about now, spare a thought for 15 cyclists, nearly all of them railway workers, who have been in the saddle for more than 12 hours under pouring rain with a few more to go before completing a 200-mile charity ride from Manchester to London. As at 5.30 this evening, they were more than two thirds of the way through the trip.

Team Pendo – named for the Virgin Pendolino trains which provide a rather quicker way of getting from the northwest to the capital, are looking to raise money for a new Young Oncology Unit (YOU) at The Christie hospital in Manchester.

They’re led by Virgin train driver John Young, who says: “The idea was to get a team of cyclists to set off from Manchester Piccadilly at the same time of our first Pendolino (Pendo) train at 5.05am and then cycle over 200 miles in one day to make it to London Euston in time to catch the last Virgin Train back to Manchester at 22.00pm.

“Over 200 miles in under 17 hours! Not easy, but life isn't – especially if you are suffering from the daily challenges brought about by cancer.”

Howard Newhall, Community Fundraising Officer at The Christie Charity, commented: “We are astounded by the dedication of everyone taking part this challenge, many of whom who have only been cycling seriously since January this year - and wish them all the best of luck for Friday.

“I too will be saddling up take part in the cycle so please support us if you can. You can track our progress online too so please tweet us any messages of support.”

You can find out more about the challenge, as well as donating to team Pendo’s appeal, on their Just Giving page, and donations can also be made by texting trip99 to 70070.

You can also follow their progress on Twitter, through the @PendoCycle200 account, as well as online at Greenalp.com – the page may take a few seconds to refresh to the current location.

Please note it takes a few seconds to update the location.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.