TWO friends are saddling up for a three month cycle across Europe to raise money for charity.
Jonas Pollard and best friend Matthias Christian, both 19, are cycling 4,000 across 14 countries to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The teenagers will be leaving from just outside WHSmith in King Street, Stroud, at 10am on Saturday and will spend the next three months cycling 50 miles a day – with a rest day every week – all the way to the Black Sea in Romania and back to Marseilles in the south of France.
This is the second time former Thomas Keble student Jonas has taken up the saddle in order to raise money for Macmillan, a charity which has meant a lot to his family since his mother Maggie Pollard after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2011 Jonas raised £2,500 for the charity through a sponsored 300-mile cycle and a non-uniform day he organised at his school.
This time however the pair are hoping to double that and raise a huge £5,000.
“So far we have managed to raise more than £3,500 and we haven’t even started the ride yet,” said Jonas, who lives in Upper Washwell, Painswick.
“We are hoping people will be inspired to donate throughout the three month journey as we will be sending updates to our Facebook page and website about the journey.
“It’s going to be a real challenge especially because we are going by ourselves rather than with an organised expedition.
“We will be carrying all our kit with us, from our tent and stove to our food and clothes, not forgetting of course a flick knife to ward off those Romanian bears.”
Jonas and Matthias have known each other since birth as their mothers met and became friends while they were pregnant.
Matthias, who lives in Ruscombe, said: "I have known Jonas all my life and cycling is an activity that we have always really enjoyed doing together.
"For a long time we discussed the idea of taking on a big cycling challenge for charity and now we have both finished studying it has become possible."
To follow Jonas and Matthias’s journey go to the Facebook page Crossing Countries for Cancer.
To donate to the pair go to www.justgiving.com/crossingcountriesforcancer.