June 2018 – “Riding for Arthritis. Charity Ride Suffolk-Pisa” is the name of a tour organised by three British friends to the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, Tuscany, a stone’s throw away from the Piaggio Group head office. The purpose was to raise funds for arthritis research. A journey of more than 3,000 kilometres across Europe, covered by many newspapers and radio stations. So far, the adventure of the three daring Brits has raised more than 6,500 pounds, which will also go to help people affected by this disabling condition.
Here’s the story: Andrew Nickson, who had the idea for the charity ride (and is himself affected by an acute form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, of genetic origin), decided to make the trip on his Aprilia Habana scooter, the ride symbol (even though his cherished two-wheeler has clocked up a good many years and kilometres), starting from his home in Suffolk (U.K.) and traveling to Pontedera. On 1 June, joined by his friends Stuart, on his Aprilia Shiver 750, and Charles, driving a jeep, Andrew set off. Before leaving, he announced: “We’ll cross the Channel, Belgium, France and Switzerland and ride through the Alps into Italy. Under our itinerary, we expect to reach the Piaggio Museum on 6 June, subject to disasters and unexpected events.”
So how was the ride? “It wasn’t easy,” says an enthusiastic Andrew, “in fact it was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. A real challenge, but we made it! My little scooter had a few problems, it suffered from mountain sickness in the Alps, had to have its brakes replaced in Lausanne, overheated, and I bumped it in France! But it withstood everything. And we had lots of adventures during the ride! It was a wonderful experience!”.
The trio received a warm welcome from the staff at the Piaggio Museum, who took them on a guided tour of the collections of vintage Group brands: Piaggio, Ape, Vespa, Gilera, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia. And, on the road back home, there will be other landscapes and toasts to friendship and good causes for Andrew & Friends.
THE FACEBOOK PAGE WITH THE PHOTOS OF THE RIDE:
WEBSITE: RIDING FOR ARTHRITIS