'It was a good big lads trip' Ipswich pair complete tandem trip from Russia to Harwich
PUBLISHED: 11:30 07 September 2019
Two Suffolk men overcame everything the weather could throw at them to complete a 1,700 mile charity cycle ride from Russia to the UK.
Oliver Lawson and George Sarson, former pupils at Ipswich School, undertook the challenge on their tandem bicycle to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), starting in St Petersburg and ending in Harwich.
The pair admitted they weren't fans of cycling before starting journey began and said the idea of riding a tandem came from wanting to bring some humour to their adventure.
Mr Lawson, 22, said: "I was inspired to do something big for charity after reading comedian John Bishop's autobiography and thought it might be a bit of fun.
"It was a good big lads trip. We regretted the tandem decision near instantly, though."
Departing from Russia in late July, the pair - joined by friends Tom James and Rory McMillan, of Sherborne, on single bikes - cycled through the forests of Finland where they avoided encountering wild bears as they camped in the great outdoors.
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But it was in neighbouring Sweden where they met their first big test, seven continuous days of torrential rain. They later endured temperatures of more than 30C as they made their way through Germany.
The weather extremes weren't enough to prevent the recent university graduates from enjoying their time in the saddle.
"We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into," he said. "But every day you get up, switch yourself on and get back on the bike.
"It was fun spending my 22nd birthday in Copenhagen, but I did have to cycle 30 miles that day."
Giving their legs a much needed break after 32 days of cycling with only four days off, an overnight ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich saw their month-long journey come to an end on August 30.
But they still had enough energy to cycle their tandem to Lawshall, turning down the opportunity of a lift home.
Ten days after arriving home, Mr Lawson admitted he needed more time to recover. "We got to see so much of the world, new cities and some incredible sights - but I think it will be another 10 years until I do something like this again."
As it stands, the group are just £402 short of their £5,000 target. Those interested in donating should visit their JustGiving page here.