For the third year in succession, a team from Cambridge University Press, including a group of Cambridge Journals staff, took part in the London to Cambridge Cycle Ride, raising money for Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for whom we publish Oryx – the International Journal of Conservation.

Founded in 1903, FFI is the world’s oldest international conservation organisation. Our fundraising efforts this year went directly to an urgent appeal launched by FFI in response to a brutal attack on the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Congo Basin by poachers, in which members of staff were murdered, equipment destroyed and sixteen Okapi killed.

On the day of the most recent London to Cambridge bike ride, a bear, a wolf, a lion, a blue bird, a zebra, a turtle, a fox and two bumble bees were to be spotted riding bicycles up to the Cambridge University Press gates at half past six on Sunday morning, 22nd July. Rob Harris (see picture above), from FFI, donned his gorilla costume again (still in use after the 2010 and 2011 rides) and swung by. Our team of thirty-five, our strongest yet, climbed aboard the coach and promptly set off for Pickett’s Lock in London.

In a field of five thousand, our unique array of costumes and team t-shirts enabled us to find each other at the six rest stops along the way, allowing us for the most part to catch up, eat cake and, erm, fix each other’s bikes (…thanks Julia). As a first time rider, sixty miles seemed a little daunting, but I was put at ease by a wonderful atmosphere and sense of sporting camaraderie, not to mention riding through some wonderful surroundings, particularly when gliding in the Essex countryside and ambling through the quite picturesque little villages in the sunshine.

Tired, but happy, we completed the ride at a splendid welcoming party on Midsummer Common in Cambridge, where we were presented with ice cream and medals. The majority of our group finished in six to eight hours, although some staff were much quicker than this!

Many thanks go out to all those who took part in the ride, and all those who supported us through donations. We raised a grand total of £1,426 (US$2,255), surpassing last year’s record amount, and would like to thank the Press and everyone for their generous support.

The Gorilla, displaying a hitherto unheard-of feat of technological prowess, sent us all the following email message: “On behalf of FFI and the travelling zoo, a huge thanks goes to Julia Hochbach and everyone else from the Press whose efforts raised funds during the London to Cambridge bike ride for the third year in a row. We’re delighted to have beaten the previous years’ targets, and are pleased that the funds will be donated to an appeal, led by FFI, for the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was subject to a recent devastating rebel attack. Thanks again and see you next year!”

Cambridge University Press and FFI Team

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