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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cyclists Brave Weather for Russian Children

For six Moscow-based expatriates and 46 British citizens, the roads between Moscow and St. Petersburg are very familiar. Saturday evening, in the drizzling rain, they rode into Red Square after an 8-day, 725-kilometer bike ride. They did it for charity -- the British-based Friends of Russian Children.

According to Carolyn Cripps, a cyclist in the fundraising effort and also director of FoRC, it is too early to determine how much money was raised. Last year's bike ride raised $130,000.

"The last two days were hell for the riders," said Cripps, adding that the volunteers ranged in age from a 19-year-old medical student to a 78-year-old retired electrician. The group also included a celebrity: Margaret Thatcher's daughter Carol. "The last day, we rode 120 kilometers in sheet rain, negotiating Moscow traffic."

According to Cripps, funds from the effort will supply Moscow's Hospital No. 9 with a new laundry facility. Cripps said inadequate facilities make it impossible for the hospital to keep beds clean. Hospital No. 9 houses the largest unit for child burn victims in Russia, and dirty linens are the primary cause of cross-infection. Monies raised will also fund the charity's burn-prevention program which, with help from the London and Moscow fire brigades, sends firefighters to Moscow schools to discuss fire safety.

Katy Ross, a design engineer from England, raised $5,000 by appealing to companies and friends. She said the trip was rustic but memorable. "One night we were highland dancing under a tarpaulin in a thunderstorm on the banks of the Volga," she said.