RECORD-breaking long distance Scottish cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont has pledged his support for a charity that supplies refugees with bikes.

He is now encouraging others to join a fundraising fancy dress bike ride through Edinburgh in April in aid of Bikes for Refugees (Scotland) as well as support a two day fundraising event that begins today.

“The work that they do is fantastic – it’s simple but effective and also helps to put a smile back on the faces of families and children through the joy of cycling,” said Beaumont.

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“I commend the work of Bikes for Refugees and all the people who have supported them through the donation of bikes.

“I would encourage everyone to get behind them and support their valuable work.”

He continued: “Help them cycle the 4797km distance from Edinburgh to Damascus on fixed bikes or decorate your bike and join them for a fundraising fancy dress bike ride through Edinburgh on April 2 and again on May 7 for a fundraising spin at LifesCycle spin studio in Leith.

“I might just see you there in preparation for my next big adventure.”

Steven McCluskey, founder and director of Bikes for Refugees (Scotland), who co-ordinates the project in his spare time, said it was receiving support from all over Scotland.

McCluskey said: “As a grassroots community project we are entirely led by volunteers and could not do what we do without the valuable support we receive from many individuals and projects such as the wonderful SoulRiders Scotland who support our Glasgow Hub and the repair and distribution of bikes alongside the Bridge 8 Hub outdoor activity centre supporting our operations in Edinburgh.

“It’s great that people like Mark have come out in support of not only our work in Scotland but also of the positive contribution of refugees to Scottish life, all helping to raise understanding and break down barriers.”

McCluskey said the charity was also heartened to be approached by the Edinburgh University STAR (Student Action for Refugees) group seeking to connect students with opportunities to campaign, fundraise and volunteer on behalf of refugees.

“The fundraising cycle from Edinburgh to Damascus, the capital of Syria, is an inspiring idea to help raise important awareness and funds for our project and the work of Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders,” he said.

“Students are signing people up to clock up the miles on eight static bikes over three days and nights – the more people who get involved the better.

They are inviting people to sponsor the event via its gofundme page (https://www.gofundme.com/ride-for-refugees-star).”

April’s fancy dress ride will award prizes for adults and children for the best costumes and dressed bikes.

“It’s guaranteed to be a fun and colourful day where people will be able to cycle alongside and in solidarity with many of our new refugee friends,” said McCluskey.

The fun spin session on May 7 will also involve awareness raising, films, music and an opportunity to meet and share food with refugees and their families.

There are a limited number of spin bikes so people are asked to register for a bike as soon as possible at www.lifescycle.co.uk.