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Some might anticipate the prospect of a 90km bike ride with trepidation. For Sydney businessman Angelo Lofitis it feels like looking forward to Christmas.

The Dulwich Hill resident was one of 10 thousand people who took part in the MS Sydney to the Gong Ride on November 6, which raised $2.5 million to support Australians living with multiple sclerosis.

“The Gong ride is my favourite yearly event,” he says. “I anticipate the joy of it just like a kid would Christmas.“

The largest recreational bike ride in the Southern Hemisphere has raised more than $35 million for MS sufferers since it began 35 years ago, and in 2016 Lofitis participated for the ninth year in a row. Over the past eight years he and his team have raised over $300,000 for the event, which he began doing annually after his wife Megan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“My team and I experience many mind challenges throughout the gruelling 90 kilometre event (but) the only difference is we only suffer the pain once every year,” says Lofitis. “My wife Megan suffers from this disease which makes the ride even more special for me.” HPG Australia supported Lofitis’s cause with a $4,000 donation, in line with its principles of fostering social responsibility, wellbeing and green spaces. Adrian Liu, Managing Director of HPG comments, “We recognise the important role this race plays in raising awareness and much needed funds for MS sufferers. As a community minded developer we felt it was important to show support for Angelo who continues to work tirelessly in his fundraising efforts.”

Over a course of 90km or 58km riders traversed diverse terrain and spectacular scenery from lush national parks to seaside towns, with plenty of rest stops for people to catch their breath and enjoy the scenery.

“It is a euphoric experience moving through coastal areas, reaching the heavens and peering across Stanwell Tops, riding over several water bridges and then finishing in the scenic coastal town of Wollongong,” says Lofitis of the ride. “I love meeting new people along the way and the ability to mix with others and chat along the way while exercising.” Thanks to the passion and commitment of the likes of Lofitis and HPG, support for the MS Gong Ride looks like it will only continue to grow.

“The MS Gong Ride is a great experience for everyone, from serious cyclists to families,” says Robyn Hunter, CEO of Multiple Sclerosis Limited. “There’s a real sense of achievement in completing the course and a wonderful feeling of camaraderie in supporting an important cause with so many others.”

For more information on the MS Gong Ride, go to www.msgongride.org.au.