Despite the inclement weather, this year’s MS Sydney to Gong charity bike ride appears set to surpass $3 million in funds raised.
Sunday’s ride sold out, reaching its capacity of 10,000 registered cyclists.
Since its inception 36 years ago, the event has raised more than $38 million to help those living with multiple sclerosis.
MS Events’ head of marketing and communications Darshan Parmar said “only a few” of those registered didn’t ride due to the weather conditions. He said they were still on track to raise more than $3 million.
He said this was the event's first sold out ride in five years.
Riders could take part in an 82km course from Tempe Recreation Reserve from 6am, or a 58km ride from Cooper Street Reserve in Engadine from 8am.
The ride finished at Wollongong’s Lang Park, which was a sea of lycra and wheels as cyclists recovered from the ride and were greeted by spectators.
Berry's René Arnold, 41, who was diagnosed with MS 14 years ago, attended the post-ride festivities for the first time.
“There seems to be a real nice feeling about it, a really good atmosphere,” she said.
“I’m fairly humbled (by the riders' efforts). I’m super proud of all of them, and the amount of effort everyone goes to.”
Family friend, Sydney resident Paul Fitzpatrick took part in the ride for the second time, completing the 58km course.
“It was tough going today – at one stage I felt like quitting, but then you’re like, ‘no, I’ve got to keep going, only a few km to go'.”
Singleton resident Kim Nguyen participated in the ride for the 12th time, alongside his Hunter Valley-based team the Soft Cogs.
He said the the team hoped to raise $60,000 this year.
“It’s a great ride, the ride itself is excellent,” he said.
“We know a lot of people who suffer from MS, and it hits home for a lot of our riders.
“For the first time one of our riders this year has MS, and we’re going to do a bit of a celebration when she crosses the finish line.”