Cycling duo take on the Alps, Romanian wild dogs and Serbian television

1:35pm Tuesday 1st July 2014

By Kate Wilson

SERBIAN food, French hospitality and an uphill battle through the Alps are just some of the highs and lows of a three month charity cycle ride through Europe shred by two best friends.

Jonas Pollard and best friend Matthias Christian, both 19, cycled 4,000 miles across 14 countries to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The teenagers left from Stroud town centre back in March and arrived home on Saturday to dozens of cheering fans outside the Sub Rooms.

They have spent the last three months cycling 50 miles a day – with a rest day every week – all the way to the Black Sea in Romania, then from Milan through the Alps to Germany.

This fundraising campaign is the second time former Thomas Keble student Jonas has taken up the saddle in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which has meant a lot to his family since his mother Maggie Pollard 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.

So far on this trip the boys have raised more than £4,500 but are still pushing to get closer to their £10,000 target.

“Even though we are back we are still hoping more people will come forward and sponsor us,” said Jonas, who lives in Upper Washwell, Painswick.

“For me the favourite place on the trip was Serbia.

"Not only was the food incredible but it was really and cheap and the people there were absolutley lovely and we were interviewed and appeared on Serbian television."

The pair had planned to camp for the whole three months however there were some occasions where this was considered too dangerous - wild Romanian dogs being one - and other times locals would take them in for the night.

"We met a very kind lady in France who let us set up our tent in her garden and in the morning she even fed us," said Jonas.

"All in all it has been an incredible experience and there was only one time - when Matthias' gears failed while trying to take on the Alps - that there was any sign we might not enjoy it."

There is still time to donate - go to www.justgiving.com/crossingcountriesforcancer.

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