42 countries, two wheels, one man
How far would you go to raise money for a good cause?
Joss Livesey, a 25-year-old from Cumbria, is going over 13,000 miles.
Joss is in the middle of an epic challenge to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. In March, he set off on the grueling eight-month journey. He aims to cycle to every sovereign state in continental Europe and then climb to the highest
point of each – either by bike or on foot.
This means 42 countries and an incredible 13,500 miles of cycling.
Joss is over halfway through his challenge, has visited more than 20 countries so far and has already climbed the highest point in Europe, Mount Elbrus in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains.
He started in Portugal and made his way east through Southern Europe towards Russia. He then exited Russia through the Baltics, before flying back to the UK to be part of a friend’s wedding! A few days later, he’s back out to Finland to take on Scandinavia, followed by central Europe and ending in the Netherlands.
Not all plain sailing
Joss spends most nights camping but has also been treated to some generous hospitality from locals. We managed to catch up with him during his brief home visit to find out how he’s doing…
“I’m absolutely loving it!” he told us. “I really enjoy being out on the road. I love the simple life – pitching camp wherever I am and then waking up in the peacefulness of the countryside. I’ve covered a lot of distance – Russia took up a month in itself! But I’m on-track with my timing and should finish near the beginning of winter.”
Although Joss is enjoying the challenge, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
“Temperatures have varied hugely – back in March, I woke up every morning to a frozen tent. However some days in Russia were pushing 40°C. It can be hard to find water in remote areas so I was carrying 10 litres on my back on particularly scorching days.
“The most difficult thing about the challenge is the unknown. I have a thorough plan but things often have to change and you need to be flexible. I’ve had to completely change my route at times. Luckily I’ve met some incredibly kind and helpful people while on my journey. People have been really generous, offering me food, water and shelter, and insisting that I take it!”
Why is Joss doing it?
“My family has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease and having learned more about it, I’ve come to realise the vital need to find a cure, or at least a way to alleviate the devastating consequences of the condition. That’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK with this challenge.
“The reaction to my journey has been amazing and people have been really generous in donating to the cause. That’s a huge motivation and really spurs me on when I’m out on the road.”
Joss aimed to raise £1,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK and has already surpassed this target five months into his challenge. He’s now upped his goal to £3,000. You can sponsor him on JustGiving.
- Interested in fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK? Get inspired by taking a look at our fundraising ideas.