A SYRIAN refugee is to take part in an 865-mile charity bike ride – even though she is still learning how to ride a bike.

Violet Hejazi, 25, who works as an interpreter for Freedom from Torture, is being taught by Glasgow’s Soul Riders after she was given a bicycle from Bikes for Refugees Scotland.

Hejazi, who left her war-torn homeland in 2011, has already raised nearly £200 for the Cycle against Torture bike ride, which is due to take place in July.

“I wanted to be able to support them and also ride a bike as I was unable to because of cultural reasons when I was in Syria,” she told The National. “I love it and so far I’ve managed not to fall off.”

Hejazi has signed up for three stages of the ride from Hastings to Edinburgh which is being organised by Edinburgh-based Moira Dunworth, 64, who is riding the whole way, along with Shelagh King, also 64, from Melrose.

The route is divided into 19 stages so that other riders can join them along the way.

The event began as a personal ride after Dunworth was dared to do it by a friend but has turned into a major fundraising trek with a target of £10,000.

Support has come from cyclist Mark Beaumont and Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, who will set the riders off from Glasgow as they make their way to Falkirk on the penultimate stage of the journey.

Beaumont said he was “inspired” by Hejazi as well as King and Dunworth, who are both retired.

“Freedom from Torture is a brilliant grassroots charity providing medical and psychological care for survivors of torture here in the UK and I am sure that this Cycle against Torture will do brilliantly at raising awareness and funds,” he said.

The route will take in the five Freedom from Torture centres in the UK and help has been offered from supporters’ groups along the way. Breakfast will be provided in Newcastle at the local synagogue while a celebration will be held at the end by Leith’s Sikh community.

“As soon as I put the idea out people offered to help, it started to grow and has turned into a really positive thing,” said Dunworth.

“Everyone seems delighted to be able to do something constructive and fun. We will raise money but the primary aim is about awareness and connecting with people.”

She added: “People think torture happened in medieval times or only happens to really bad people.

“However it is an everyday occurrence across the world today and it happens to people no matter who they are. It’s an instrument of war in the same way that rape is an instrument of war and it is becoming more and more prevalent.”

The last two stages in Scotland are already full as numbers are limited to eight riders with two leaders.

Dunworth added: “I am training really hard as I have never cycled longer than 50 miles in my life and some of the legs are 70 miles long and quite hilly. I’m looking forward to it, though, as it is partly to mark my 65th birthday in May.”

Harvie told The National he was delighted to express support for this ‘‘amazing’’ fundraiser.

He added: ‘‘Moira and Shelagh are riding all the way from Hastings. I’m chuffed to be able to ride some of the way from Glasgow to Falkirk with them. I’m looking forward to meeting Violet, whose determination is so inspiring. Freedom from Torture does fantastic work. It has a centre in Glasgow but needs more resources so I hope this fundraising effort will be really well supported.’’