James Bownass, with friends Paul Williams and Damien Williams, will be taking on the 3,000 kilometre plus challenge to honour Andrew Jones, who passed away in April 2017. All three men knew Andrew as a biking friend before his death.
The ride in June will start in Romania and end back in the UK, covering at least 10 countries over the 10 days. Ideally, said James, they would like to cover a total of 12 countries – including Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Holland.
James said that they hoped to be able to spend much of their trip on the back roads of the countries they passed through – although would return to the main roads if they were running short of time. “There’s a famous old biking route called the Transalpine Route which we’re going to try and follow,” he said.
“We’re also going to try and visit as many local spots as possible and will be asking people on social media for suggestions along the way”.
As many of the roads on this route are non-paved, he said they were already practising what he called “green laning” – ie driving off the beaten track on their bikes. James also said they would be modifying their “older, adventure-style” bikes to make the journey. And as for nights, the plan is to stop and camp wherever they end up when the sun goes down.
James and friends have set up a Virgin Money Giving page for sponsorship – with the aim to raise £5,000 in total for Meningitis Now. The money will be used to help raise awareness about meningitis and support people living with the impact of the disease.
Joanne Wilson, Meningitis Now Community Fundraiser for Wales, said she was very grateful to James and the others for their fundraising efforts and that money raised would make a real difference to the charity’s fight against meningitis.
“While there is a very serious reason behind their epic journey, I hope they get a chance to enjoy the trip as well,” she said.
“It sounds like an amazing experience – and one that properly honours the memory of their friend Andrew.”