In case you hadn’t noticed, summer has well and truly scarpered, leaving in its wake a washout October which set the scene for a mammoth outdoors adventure.

At Tonic towers we’ve been kept busy for the past month, working with Vision Express in preparation for a 200-mile, three-day bike ride, in aid of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).

On the wettest weekend of 2013, 37 brave volunteers – some of whom had never owned a cycle before signing up for the challenge – nervously edged over the starting line at the Metrocentre in Gateshead. The feat was to mark 25 years of trading by Vision Express, with staff cyclists departing its very first store in the shopping centre, journeying south to the Nottingham head office.

It was a tough, tiring three days thanks to the persistent rainfall and grim conditions. For the small support team of non-cyclists, the main job was motivation, giving a celebratory blast of the horn at every group of riders we passed. And persevering even after one cyclist mistook the toot for an unfriendly driver, and gestured accordingly….

Of course as well as the motivation, Tonic’s responsibility was the media. Working with CHECT, families of survivors of eye cancer were invited to greet the cyclists and local media. Elsewhere, stores nationwide were rolling their sleeves up too, holding competitions, static cycle challenges, head shaves and cake bakes, all to add to the fund. Punctures, a hospital admission for a cyclist, and the theft of the charity collection at the York store the day before the cyclists passed through the city only spurred the mission on.

While the cyclists jubilantly crossed the finish line last week having netted a huge £26,790 for CHECT, we’re still feverishly chasing up coverage opportunities and enjoying seeing the donations climb further. Co-ordinating media outreach for over 50 stores across the UK is no mean feat, but with planning, and lots of smiles along the way, it’s all been a great success.

The exposure achieved is set to top 100 articles, reaching in excess of 5 million consumers. But the most important figure is the £50,000 fundraising target for CHECT. Let’s hope we smash it.

To donate to the cause visit: