Hundreds of volunteers are hoping to raise money to help combat India's coronavirus crisis by cycling the distance of London to Delhi in 48 hours.
Volunteers from one of the country's largest Hindu temples set out to raise £500,000 pounds by racking up 7,600 kilometres (4,722 miles) on stationary bikes — roughly the distance from London to Delhi — in just two days.
IT consultant Yogen Shah was just one of the people taking part who knew someone affected by the ongoing emergency, with his uncle recently contracting the disease.
The 40-year-old said: “I think every single person of Indian origin will have someone affected over there.
“And anywhere around the world that you have COVID, you feel for that human being, you feel for that person, whether they’re Indian origin or not.”
The Washington Post report that the ride at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London’s Neasden neighbourhood is one of many fundraising drives taking place as members of the Indian community seek to help those battling the pandemic.
The British Asian Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles, has launched an emergency appeal to buy oxygen concentrators, which can extract oxygen from the air when hospital supplies run short.
🚴The Bharat Army will be joining Fundraisers @NeasdenTemple today, to take part in the ‘Cycle to Save Lives’ event for the Covid19 situation in India.
— The Bharat Army (@thebharatarmy) May 2, 2021
India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the first time daily infections topped that milestone. The country reported 3,523 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, raising overall virus fatalities to 211,853.
Tarun Patel, one of the organisers, said: “India is starving for oxygen.
“We need to help.’’
“You are not alone in this fight,’’ Patel added. “We are with you. We may geographically be thousands of miles away, but we are with you.’’
Organisers arranged a bank of 12 bikes in front of the temple, its domes and turrets just peaking out from scaffolding. Joining with temples in Leicester and Chigwell, they attracted 750 riders.
Each volunteer gets an hour on the bike — 50 minutes to clock up the kilometres and 10 minutes to sanitise the bike before handing it over. Each volunteer has set up a fundraising page that goes towards an overall fundraising goal.
Anyone who would like to donate, can do so here.