Shimla, Sep 17 (IANS) Intrepid riders from various nations will this year also attempt to raise awareness through social outreach events in human habitations across inhospitable terrains of Himachal Pradesh at the 13th Hero MTB Himalaya race spanning nine days later this month, event organisers said on Sunday.

From highlighting the importance of donating bone-marrow for patients of leukemia, a team of cyclists will pedal to support charitable causes for the orphaned children of Africa. A biker will be riding to oppose animal abuse.

An eight-member team, led by Jorge Padrones, will support the fight against leukemia through the Josep Carreras Foundation of Spain, Mohit Sood, President of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), the local club that organises the MTB (mountain bike) Himalaya rally every year, told IANS.

Padrones, 44, will be participating in this race for the third consecutive time.

Another biker Javier Rodriguez Moreno, who has earlier participated in Titan Desert, Corsica Raid and Algarve Bike Challenge, will be accompanying Padrones.

More than 70 riders, including foreigners, will participate in the mountain bike race that will start from Shimla on September 28.

The race, touted as one of the toughest across the globe, will conclude in Dharamsala town, the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, on October 7 after traversing a distance of 650 km over eight stages with an elevation gain of 16,500 metres.

A team of bikers representing Orphans Africa will be imparting education on adopting children.

Rafael Menini, from Brazil, will be participating in this race.

In the Hero MTB Himalaya’s last edition, German photographer Stefan Wiebel, representing the Rocky Mountain MTB team, raised a charity by selling his pictures back home.

This time Wiebel will contribute a part of his charity towards the outreach Mission Smile, a medical charity, to operate upon children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

Portuguese rider Ilda Periera will be riding with an aim to campaign against animal abuse.

“Before men, this earth belongs to animals. Fighting for those who can’t speak becomes utmost important in a world full of greedy people driven by selfish motives,” Periera said in a message to race organisers.

Rally organisers also engage riders for interactions with students in schools along the race route with an aim to enlighten them about the benefits of cycling and issues related to healthcare.

In the last edition, they reached out to over 5,000 students in 35 government schools and 22 villages that fell on their route.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.