Daniel Groves

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Eurovelo

Published: 14 April 2016 · Tags: eurovelo, bike, expedition

A charity cycle expedition across Europe.

This post is part of the four part series Eurovelo. To see more from this series check the series index.

A few years ago Max and I completed the infamous John O’ Groats to Lands End cycling challenge with a twist of our own, taking in much of Scotland that is missed by many people as we weaved through the outer hebridean islands. We didn’t stop there as we took in parts of Cumbria, Yorkshire, the midlands, Somerset, Exmoor and Cornwall that are normally missed out. This added over 400 extra miles to our route.

As some people will already know this summer we’re stepping up again, this time with even bigger plans. As I write this we’ve been working toward this trip for nearly ten months, planning our route, researching foreign countries and saving the funds we require to complete the challenge. The endgame is simple: fly to Thessaloniki (Greece) and cycle home again (England).

As it stands we’ll be leaving the UK on Sunday 5th June at a rather horrendous 5PM, before landing at 11PM local time in Greece. We will then begin the process of cycling over 4500km home. That’s well over double our John O’ Groats to Lands End challenge.

This trip is being organised with the intention of raising funds for Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Oxfam Syria Refugee Appeal, and the Shekinah Mission. Once we return from this trip we’re hoping to have a catalogue of images and a story to tell in order to help raise further funds for these charities.

We’d like to thank the University of Plymouth for supporting us with transport, accommodation and food costs for this trip. We’d also like to thank Solar Technology International for providing solar charging for our battery banks which will be critical to keeping our GPS running, phones charged and my camera running.

Route Details

An approximate route has been plotted, which is mapped below. Route statistics:

  • Distance: 4686km
  • Climbing: 37,690m
  • Timeframe: 6 weeks

Updates and Support

You can donate to the trip on Just Giving. I’ll be doing my best to post updates as we go depending on where I can find wifi or we get free data for our phones. These updates will be going on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Keep checking back here too, I will put something when we get back from the trip, but it might take a while to appear as I will be jetting off again very quickly afterwards for the next trip.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales

The Mountain Rescue provide a vital service for anyone who spends time in the more remote areas of England and Wales. When accidents occur these volunteers give up their own time to support the emergency services in helping those who are lost, taken ill, injured or otherwise stranded in most difficult circumstances. Equipment and training is expensive and they are notoriously underfunded, and receive little to no government support on both individual team and national level. During the Lakes District floods of christmas 2015 the mountain rescue mustered a huge effort to support the local communities and provide swift-water rescue services.

On Christmas Day, the region mustered 70 out of 150 mountain rescue swift water rescue technicians, along with a further 53 support team members and 30 4X4 vehicles, ready to leave families and be deployed in the event of an expected second storm to hit Cumbria

Richard Warren, Chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association New and Star on the Cumbria Floods Response

The Mountain Rescue provided a 500-strong support during this crisis.

There is very little in the way of central funding, therefore fundraising remains an ongoing and very important task for the teams, with annual costs running at between £30,000 and £80,000 per team and rising.

Richard Warren, Chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association New and Star on the Cumbria Floods Response

You can donate to the Mountain Rescue via Just Giving.

Oxfam Syria Refugee Appeal

After we initially envisioned this trip the Syria refugee crisis occurred and it came to us that our route was not dissimilar to that of the refugees. We will have the creature comforts and paperwork for our journey however the refugees will have nothing; we aim to raise awareness and funds as we make this journey and Oxfam has a well-established history of expertise in humanitarian crisis situations.

You can donate to the Oxfam Syria Refugee Appeal via Just Giving.

Shekinah Mission

A local Devon charity who help to support and rehabilitate the homeless in and around Plymouth. Max and Dan both went though university in Plymouth where both still live. Max and Dan encounter the homeless on a regular basis in the city and are both uneasy that support is underfunded for such people, and spare change isn’t enough to support them in the long run. Supporting a charity that understands and helps will be an effective way of making a difference to the people who need it the most.

You can donate to the Shekinah Mission via their website. They currently do not use Just Giving.

Sponsors

We’re lucky to have had the support of a few companies while arranging this expedition which have helped to ease the financial strain as well as helping the required equipment.

Solar Technology International

Solar Technology International design and manufacture simple Solar powered solutions for everyday use, from lighting in off grid locations, through powering pumps and other electricals to recharging gadgets away from the plug point. Whether you are a gardener, farmer, equestrian, camper, hiker or adventurer there is a product for you. What’s more solar is a green, renewable and free energy source.

The Globetrotter Clic consists of the ‘Camcaddy 2’ camera battery charger, the ‘FREELOADER iSIS’ solar battery bank and the Supercharger 5-watt Solar booster panel that combine to provide EUROVELO with all the compact and mobile charging power they need for their cameras, GPS devices, iPhones and other gadgets they will need on their challenge.

Solar Technology International is thrilled to be able to support Daniel and Max on their EUROVELO challenge. The FREELOADER iSIS, Camcaddy 2 and Supercharger will enable them to tap into the power of the sun to power this incredible adventure that aims raise money for so many worthy causes.

Adrian Williams, Managing Director of Solar Technology International
 alt: Solar Tech panels in use
 alt: Solar Tech equipment laid out  alt: Solar Tech camera charger

Lyon Equipment

Lyon Equipment are the UK distributor for many of the worlds leading outdoor brands including Tubus, Ortlieb and Exped. Lyon Equipment were kind enough to provide us with trade prices on equipment they import to help support the expedition.

Plymouth University

Plymouth University have issued Max with the Roland Levinsky grant. This grant is issued each year to help fund student expeditions that are trying to achieve something which benefits society and creates a positive impact on the world. The university awarded our expedition a sum on £1100 to help pay for food, transport and accommodation.

The Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund offers current students who have completed their first year at University the opportunity to enhance their University experience through extra-curricular activities, despite any financial restrictions they may be experiencing.

The Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund was established in 2007 after the tragic death of the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Roland Levinsky, who was dedicated to the principle that individuals should be encouraged to achieve their full potential.

Awards of up to £1,500 enable you to take part in activities which could include anything from participation in a sports club or society, to undertaking a volunteering project overseas.

Plymouth University

Press and/or media enquiries

If you’d like more information or to feature the trip, please get in contact. I’m reachable anytime by email: hello@danielgroves.net.

A media pack containing images and a press release is obtainable by contacting myself via email.

Some features have already been published:

More from the Eurovelo series

This post is part of the four part series Eurovelo. This series is not yet complete; the published parts are:

  1. Eurovelo: A charity cycle expedition across Europe.
  2. Eurovelo: Arriving in Thessaloniki: The start of the adventure as we arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece and build the bikes before getting underway
  3. Eurovelo: Diesel and Dust: From the dust and fumes of Thessaloniki to the remote plains of northern Greece.
  4. Eurovelo: Into the Storm: Cycling from Bitola, Macedonia to Skopje, Macedonia though the mountains.