Tour de Regent's Park: 3,500km cycling effort for Noah's Ark Hospice

Asher Svirsky training on his stationary exercise bike 

Asher Svirsky training on his stationary exercise bike - Credit: Asher Svirsky

The Tour de France might be in its final stretch but a team of cyclists are set to keep their wheels spinning and take on a mammoth 3,500km challenge - entirely within Regent's Park. 

The Noah's Ark Cycling Club (NACC) began a few years ago as a social group, with the aim of getting fit and raising money and awareness for the Barnet-based children's hospice of the same name.

Asher Svirsky on his bike in Regent's Park when he took part in a shorter 500km challenge

Asher Svirsky on his bike in Regent's Park when he took part in a shorter 500km challenge - Credit: Asher Svirsky

Asher Svirsky, 60, grew up in the park's shadow in St John's Wood and had his earliest cycling memories there. The distance is chosen to match the length of France's famous bike race.

He told this newspaper he was motivated to take on the ride by a story of the lengths Noah's Ark went to in order to make a little girl's dream of swimming come true.

Asher, who founded the Basilico restaurant chain and now lives in Hertfordshire, said: "The charity, it is just amazing."

Asher Svirsky with his children at 4am when he finished last year's 500km Regent's Park ride

Asher Svirsky with his children at 4am when he finished last year's 500km Regent's Park ride - Credit: Asher Svirsky


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He said he had started cycling when he stepped down his professional life in around 2017.

The Noah's Ark Cycling Club began as a social group, and has now taken on various challenges to fundraise for the hospice. 

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"We did a 500km on day event last year. That was very very challenging. Then I thought what could I do on a bigger scale," he said.

"I lived near Regent's Park as a child and have been cycling there since I was a boy - so I thought: 'Why not relocate the Tour de France to Regent's Park?'"

Asher and the team are set to begin at 4am on July 23, and the 10-day long event will see them complete 795 laps of the Outer Circle at Regent's Park. 

He expects that to equal 130 hours in the saddle in total. 

"It's back to back days, which is the hardest part. It's a big challenge for anyone, but at my age it'll be harder," he said.

He added that the team hope as many people as possible will either join them in Regent's Park for parts of the ride, or complete their own challenge in honour of Noah's Ark. He said the aim was to raise at least £20,000. 

"We do understand that not everyone can do 3,500km - what we are saying is come along and do whatever you can."

To find out more and donate, visit: noahsarkcyclingclub.co.uk/

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