Sunday, 26 September 2021

Friends to cycle 1,000 miles for hospice

A MAN from Wargrave is to attempt a 1,119-mile cycling challenge with a childhood friend.

A MAN from Wargrave is to attempt a 1,119-mile cycling challenge with a childhood friend.

Alex Nicolai, 23, will pedal from Graz in Austria to Henley over 24 days in June with Aidan Boyd-Thorpe.

The pair have been friends since the age of five, when they both attended Crazies Hill Primary School.

Despite having attended different universities for the last five years, they were determined to take on a charity challenge together after completing their final exams.

They will be raising money for the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed, where Mr Boyd-Thorpe’s aunt Heather Lee was cared for before her death from cancer.

Mr Nicolai, who lives in Hennerton with his mother Philippa and brother Roly, 21, said: “Aidan and I are best friends and we’ve always wanted to do something like this together.

“We haven’t been away together since before university so we decided that when we have some free time after our finals we would do something.

“Then we decided to make it something epic.”

Mr Nicolai is currently in his final year studying electrical engineering at Bristol University, while 23-year-old Mr Boyd-Thorpe, of Remenham Hill, is studying American history at Leicester University.

After attending primary school together, Mr Nicolai went to Reading Blue Coat School and Mr Boyd-Thorpe attended the Piggott School in Wargrave but they remained friends.

The pair will begin their ride in Graz, where Mr Boyd-Thorpe’s girlfriend lives, on June 10 and cycle over the Alps and through Germany, France and Belgium, completing up to 20 miles a day.

They plan to sleep outside with just a tarpaulin as protection in case it rains.

“Everyone thinks we are crazy,” said Mr Nicolai. “We haven’t done anything like this before and we aren’t big cyclists.

“We’ve had plenty of advice from family members, from remembering to take a helmet to what we should do when it rains.

“We won’t know what we’ve let ourselves in for until we get out there but I think it’s manageable.

“I haven’t done any real training but I cycle around Bristol and Aidan has done a couple of 20-mile rides.”

The pair aim to arrive in Henley by July 4 and hope to raise £800.

Mr Nicolai said: “I wanted to do it for a local charity because it’s nice to see where your money goes.

“Aidan’s family had a very tough time when his aunt had cancer and Sue Ryder were a big support.”

To sponsor the men, visit

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