A 21-year-old man has cycled nearly 1,400 miles back to his Partridge Green home from Italy in an ‘unforgettable’ fundraiser which took 26 days to complete.
George Comber took to a vintage Italian bike in Parma on Saturday, August 2, and began his ‘Parma2PG’ adventure which saw him travel through Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
George, who spent a year in Italy as part of his degree studies, took to the saddle for the charity Surfers against Sewage and to raise awareness about plastics in the ocean, and has so far raised around £900.
He said: “I can’t thank everyone who supported, donated and helped me along the way enough.
“You’re all amazing and have kept my pedals turning no matter how tough it got, so thank you.
“I averaged around 100km a day with the toughest days definitely being in Switzerland as I crossed the Alps - although England was surprisingly tough as well.
“I cycled every day with only two rest days – one planned and one unplanned!”
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George completed the cycle on Wednesday, August 28, despite his early bike issues which saw him need a new spoke after two days, new forks after four days, a new derailer mechanism after five days and a new front wheel on day eight.
Reflecting on finishing the fundraiser, George said: “The final day was by no means an easy one with constant hills and changing weather.
“After hastily packing up in the rain we made our way to a tiny local bakery café where we ate great food and chatted with the locals about music and cycling.
“A lunch break by a weir and a quick afternoon pint or two set us up for the final stretch home.
“Finally recognising a road I’d cycled before was unbelievably exciting and spurred us on to the finish.
“An amazing evening spent with family and friends rounded off an amazing trip that I’ll never forget.”
During his time in Italy, George noticed a huge lack of awareness for plastic use in everyday life and decided to do the challenge plastic free by completely avoiding single-use plastics and, wherever possible, he avoided plastics in his equipment.
He hoped to raise awareness across the continent where he says plastic reduction isn’t as much of a priority.
He said: “I was raising money for Surfer’s Against Sewage which is a charity super close to my heart as I spend a lot of time in the ocean and they do great work protecting and cleaning our beaches and seas.
“As a surfer I have spent countless hours in the water and it is a space where you can feel relaxed and scared, recharged and drained all at the same time - there’s nowhere else like it.
“We share the seas with millions of creatures but their lives are in danger because of humans and how we use and abuse plastics.
“There are 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic in our oceans that are harming not just ocean dwelling animals but also us as we ingest these particles through our diets.
“Any money donated is enormously appreciated and 100 per cent of your money will help this amazing charity clean beaches, educate people on the dangers of plastics and how to avoid using single use plastics, present a voice for environment in Westminster and improve the water quality of our beaches.”
There is a little under a month left to donate to the cause. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/parma2pg