Cyclists swap Surrey Hills for Switzerland and Spain, raising thousands for dementia research


DEMENTIA FUNDRAISING: Colin Smith and Simon Brown travel Switzerland and Spain

Two friends have completed a massive charity bike ride across Europe to support thousands of people with dementia in Surrey.

Colin Smith and Simon Brown have challenged themselves to ride from Basel in Switzerland to Barcelona in Spain, covering 1,200 kilometers in eight days, for the benefit of the Alzheimer Society.

Colin from Weybridge, Surrey, used extra momentum to pass after his father-in-law died of dementia just days before the start of the ride. Simon also rode in memory of his grandmother who was living with the disease. Together they have raised over £12,500.

Colin said: “I saw the impact of dementia on my stepfather. The Alzheimer Society is a charity close to both of us and one of the main reasons we wanted to support in this way is to help raise funds for research.

“There hasn’t been any real progress in dementia treatments for so long and that really matters.”

For Simon, who left Surrey to live in Basel, the challenge was also a personal achievement, after a serious cycling accident in 2020 left him with five broken ribs and a broken collarbone that required mental plaque.

DEMENTIA FUNDRAISING: Colin Smith and Simon Brown travel Switzerland and Spain

The pharmaceutical leader said: “It was hard to get back into shape. This challenge has taken many more hours of weekly training since January, and I’ve lost 10kg from the extra exercise.

“We thought about doing Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland but decided to do it through Europe with the beautiful wine valleys and empty roads.

“Land’s End to Cornwall is the busiest route for most cyclists, while Switzerland to Spain is a bit different.”

The pair narrowly escaped after their SatNav took them down a highway and along treacherous rocky paths.

Cycling in constant heat reaching 40 degrees, they covered an average of 150km a day, roughly the same distance as between London and Birmingham.

You can learn more about Simon and Colin’s mission and donate here.


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