East Devon charity cyclists leave snow behind and hit road for warmer climes

PUBLISHED: 07:05 14 July 2017

The cyclists at the start of their 3,600 mile trek from the top to the bottom of Europe.

The cyclists at the start of their 3,600 mile trek from the top to the bottom of Europe.

Archant

Four friends from Britain – including two from Lympstone and Budleigh – are several days into their six-week charity cycle ride from the top to the bottom of Europe.

So far they’ve been battling cold, wind, rain, snow and blood-thirsty mosquitoes, and have encountered elk and reindeer, as well as helpful locals.

Travelling light, the cyclists haven’t got a tent – just sleeping bags and a tarpaulin to pitch and sleep under – but they’ve found a ‘few fancy places’ to sleep along the way.

Tom Pryor, 20, of Church Road, and Alec Bain, also 20, of Granary Lane, are cycling 3,600 miles from Nordkapp in Norway, the most northern place in continental Europe, to Tarifa in Spain, the most southern.

Riding with friends Sam and James Prestwich, from Herefordshire, they aim to complete the trip in around 40 days, raising money for Hospiscare, along with Herefordshire-based charity St Michael’s Hospice.

The lads say that the first few days were exhausting.

“It was a tough ride up Nordkapp, just over 20 miles with nearly 3,000ft of climbing,” said Alec.

“The ride back to Honningsvag was awesome, the descents were incredible – 3km downhills – and I loved every second of it. It’s all going well so far. It’s cold but we’re all fine. It just makes you pedal harder.”

Three days into the ride, it was getting tougher.

“The views are amazing, but it’s very cold,” said Sam.

“We are battling cold wind and rain with snow on the hills. To overcome this, we stopped at cafés to have a hot drink or just use their warmth.

“We came across a church and found a door that opened. The heat was glorious. The vicar arrived and said we were welcome, so we settled down for a warm dry night.”

The cyclists recently reached Sweden.

“I think we might just be getting somewhere,” said Sam, a few days ago.

“We have left the Arctic Circle and the snow on the hills, and are heading for the warmth down south.

“The views have been amazing. We have managed to get in 90 miles a day – our daily target – and we’re feeling good about the next few days.”

To find out more about the cycle challenge, visit itsalldownhillfromhere.com or to donate to Hospiscare, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/cyclingeuropenorth
tosouthforhospiscare.


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