The annual cycling challenge Optoms Cycling for Sight (OC4S) is currently taking place for a fourth consecutive year bringing together the whole of the optical profession and is promising to be the most successful year to date. Nominated for the prestigious ‘Charity Initiative of the Year’ AOP Award, the OC4S attracted over 50 participants to take part, collectively cycling approximately 12,000 miles and raising nearly £25k on behalf of Optometry Giving Sight.
Since inception Optoms Cycling for Sight (OC4S) has grown in popularity each year. The initiative was founded by 3 Optometry students Fares Hatoum, Jessica Maclsaac and Abu Patel in 2011 as a student challenge which grew in the last year to include the whole profession.
The overall goal set this year was to collectively cycle 25,000 miles, the circumference of the world, and raise £1 per mile so that £25,000 can be raised in total.
The main event of the year was driven by lead organiser Fares Hatoum and organized by OGS sponsors Perceptive. Inspired by the Tour De France holding the first stage of the event in Yorkshire, OC4S recreated the gruelling challenge, a challenge any keen cyclist would find hard to resist, and allowing optical professionals from around the UK to take part in what became known as the Optoms Tour of Yorkshire. The event was sponsored by Optrafair, Optician, Topcon, Ocuco, S.I. Opticals, Zeiss, Hunter and MCL Create.
Starting at Harewood House at 7am, a group of 37 cyclists negotiated tough hill climbs and cycled 190km to arrive in Harrogate by 6pm. There were three ride lengths open to the group: the full 190km course, a 100 km option starting near Hawes and a 60 km route starting at East Witton.
Peter Charlesworth, Managingin Director of CET provider Perceptive, who completed the full 120 mile challenge commented, “We are proud to be long term sponsors of Optometry Giving Sight and it has been a great pleasure for us to have been able to organise the CET and ‘Tour of Yorkshire’ cycle event.”
A selection of inspirational individual and group challenges took place from August and continued into November. Returning to take up the OC4S challenge for a second year was dispensing optician and partner at Bowden & Lowe Opticians, Timothy Bowden, raising £2,700 in total by cycling 326 miles from Chester to Richborough Castle in Kent.
Ocuco also entered a team of three biking enthusiasts Aoife Corbett, Dan Geare and Scott Sier, each successfully completing a three day cycle challenge from Dudley to Cardiff raising £1,823.
In early September, a team of five from ASDA opticians South Coast cycled 32 miles between ASDA stores from Havant to Eastleigh via Portsmouth and Fareham headed by Optometrist Christopher Bick.
Student challenges across the UK started taking place in October. News of the challenge spread across Europe with Dr. Dimitra Makryniwti, Optometrist, Contact Lens Lecturer at the Department of Optics & Optometry T.E.I. of Western Greece, organising the first OC4S cycle challenge to have taken place in Greece.