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Stationary cycling goes a long way to support JDRF

London, 01 Aug 2016

An annual cycling event in the heart of London has captured Macquarie staff interest for the past three years, with employee Jamie Gilbert one of the driving forces behind it.

“The event raises funds for JDRF which is such a great cause,” says Gilbert. “Once you start getting more involved with JDRF you get more of the story – and it’s a great story. What they do is very important.”

JDRF aims to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications. It works to develop and deliver therapies to people living with the disease and to restore the body’s normal ability to produce insulin after the disease strikes.

Each year Macquarie’s London office organises teams of five cyclists – with varying fitness levels and cycling expertise - to compete in the ‘Ride to Cure Diabetes’ which raises funds for JDRF.

This year, three teams from Macquarie competed due, according to Gilbert, largely “because it’s competitive and fun”.

As part of the event each cyclist races on a stationary bike for eight minutes and after a one minute break the next competitor in the team starts their eight minute session. The winning team is the one which has ridden the longest distance in the time allocated.

Gilbert’s team has finished second overall in two of the three years they have participated; this year one of their team members, Michael Stromsoe, also won the individual winner category.

“It’s a pretty tough eight minutes when you are cycling – particularly at the end. It’s great to have the other four team members around you though and cheering you on,” Gilbert explains.

The team is sponsored to compete in the race and, as an additional fundraiser, around 50 Macquarie staff participate in a reverse auction immediately prior to the cycling event, which sees the participants bidding on who (usually a senior leader within their team) they would like to see complete a ‘fun’ challenge.

This year, the auction ‘winner’ was challenged to eat a tablespoon of cinnamon and the previous year the winner had to drink fish sauce – all in the name of charity.

“There is a lot of competitive tension in the auction which we run just before the cycling event so it does add to the excitement,” Gilbert says.

Over the past three years nearly £20,000 has been raised from the auction and cycling event, with Macquarie Group Foundation matching.

Aside from rallying the cycling teams each year, Gilbert’s commitment to supporting JDRF led him to compete in the London Marathon in April, raising £21,000 (with matching) as an individual fundraiser.

The Macquarie Group Foundation has supported JDRF in several countries Macquarie operates in since 2008.

Image caption: Jamie Gilbert cycling during Ride to Cure Diabetes with team mates cheering him on (left to right); Michael Stromsoe (overall individual winner), Sean Donohue, Alastair Yates and Suraj Patel.