HOT, SORE AND TIRED – BUT STILL CY­CLING TO AFRICA

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - JAMES MCCARTHY Re­porter james.mccarthy@waleson­line.co.uk

ACYCLIST rid­ing across Europe has re­vealed that he has been sleep­ing rough and get­ting by on one meal a day. Ed­ward Bev­er­ley-Jones was hop­ing to fol­low mi­grat­ing swal­lows as they made their an­nual jour­ney to Africa.

Now in Spain, he has rid­den nearly every day since leav­ing his home in Chep­stow at the end of Septem­ber.

Un­til then he had barely rid­den in 20 years.

In videos on Face­book he de­scribed his progress across the con­ti­nent.

“I’ve bumped into some peo­ple and they have taken me in and let me have a bed and given me some food,” the 43-year-old said.

“In re­turn I’m do­ing some work for them.”

But he ad­mit­ted the ex­haust­ing daily rou­tine had taken its toll and he needed a break.

“I was get­ting slower and slower and, apart from one day, I have cy­cled every day, all day, since Septem­ber 27,” he said.

“I’ve been sleep­ing rough and had one to two meals, usu­ally one meal, a day.”

Ed’s ride is to raise money for St David’s Hos­pice Care and so far he has made more than £2,500.

“I’m ab­so­lutely ex­hausted, and I’m a lit­tle bit sore in my der­rière, so I need to do some­thing dif­fer­ent for a cou­ple of days,” he said. A fam­ily had let him use their shower, which he dubbed “heaven”.

It was the first time he had used one since ar­riv­ing in Spain. He did some work for them in re­turn. “They asked me to do some clear­ing un­der pomegranates,” he said.

He said he was de­vel­op­ing a “bit of a taste” for the fruit and the “ruby-like gems” in­side.

He has been sur­viv­ing by fish­ing and for­ag­ing.

“There is a river here that is flow­ing with some wa­ter in it, so I can do some fish­ing,” Ed­ward said.

“And there is some reed­mace grow­ing along the side.”

In one video he showed off a fish he had caught, jok­ing he’d also find chips in the river.

He said the change­able weather had made progress dif­fi­cult. “It’s bit­terly cold at night, I’m shiver­ing, and it’s too hot in the day,” he said.

“I take my shoes and socks off and try not to sweat be­cause I don’t have ac­cess to a bath­room to wash in. “I wash my clothes in ponds. “It’s so hot – these shorts are too thick. “So I’m chang­ing into my swim­ming trunks be­cause they much more air in.”

So far the Euro­pean roads have proven dan­ger­ous, too.

“There have been a few in­stances where I have nearly come off my bike be­cause of draughts from lor­ries,” he said.

“And I nearly got hit cy­cling at night by a cou­ple of deer which ran straight across me.

“I hit wet clay one day. That was slip­pier than ice. That was so scary.

“I put my leg out but how I stayed on I don’t know.”

He said the roads were lit­tered with holes.

“I’ve seen a few of those. Cy­cling at night you’re not go­ing to see that.”

Now he’s get­ting ready for the next part of his trip.

He said: “I’m get­ting a bit of rest be­fore the next phase, the rather tax­ing and pos­si­bly dan­ger­ous phase, of my bike ride to Africa and then back.” Ed­ward made an ap­peal to his friends. “Would any of my fol­low­ers do me the favour of go­ing to Sports Di­rect and buy­ing me a new set of Mr Men socks?” he said.

If you want to do­nate to Ed’s fundraiser visit www.justgiving.com/ fundrais­ing/ed-jones4 let

ROB BROWNE

Ed­ward Bev­er­ley-Jones is cy­cling to Africa

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