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But... he hasn't ridden in 20 years and it seems like the birds might have left without him.....

A Welsh man is planning to cycle to Africa - to try to follow the path taken by the swallows that live in his shed as they migrate.

Edward Beverley-Jones is crowdfunding for his effort, which will take from October to March and cover more than 4,000 miles.

Edward, 43, a pond cleaner, says he will aim to set foot in Morocco, and is raising money for a local hospice in the process.

“I want to see where it is that my swallows go,” he told Wales Online.

“I keep all my pond equipment tools in a large old stone and timber barn in the countryside near Chepstow .

“I see the swallows swoop in in the spring, flutter about in the barn, make their nests, fly in and out to get their insect food from the nearby fields and woods and then gather with their young ready for their trip south.

“I watch and communicate with them all summer and then in the autumn I watch as they prepare their fledged young to make the journey to Africa,” he added.

“I started wondering about where they go and decided, well why not, I’ll follow their route to Africa. I haven’t been to Africa before.

“I plan to follow their course all the way there and as soon as I set foot in Tangier, in Morocco, I’ll head straight back.”

Unfortunately at the time of his idea, Edward said he had not been on a bike for 20 years.

But “I feel like I am fit enough,” he insisted.

“I feel like I am fit enough to get down their for the winter and come back with them for the spring.

“I just had this feeling, this calling, to do it.

“It is a personal ambition but I thought, ‘Why not do it for money?’

“Last year I lost a client to a brain tumour so in honour of him I am raising money for St David’s Hospice Care.

“It’s about 4,000 miles, but it will probably end up at least 5,000 and probably 7,000 if I go through Portugal.”

Unfortunately for Edward, although he planned to leave with the swallow, he thinks they might have gained a head start on him.

“I think the swallows are actually gone,” he said.

“I’ve been in the area they normally are and there was not a swallow in sight.

“Three days ago I saw them all lined up on telegraph poles.

“I think they have gone early, the swines. And I was going to get a headstart.

“Which means I am onto a loser, seeing as they have wings and I am on two wheels.

“I have no idea if I can do this,” he said.

To donate click here.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

9 comments

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jobro [2 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

This all seems completely chaotic. Bit then the best of adventures often are. Good luck to him!

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wycombewheeler [1246 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Sounds like by the time he gets there the swallows will be coming back. How does he know where 'his swallows go" do they have trackers? Still good luck to him.

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Valbrona [296 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

How long before he renovates his sheds where the swallows nest, and turns them into like a study or a games room for the kids?

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handlebarcam [1076 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

Is he is planning to carry coconuts in those panniers on the return leg? It would certainly reduce the burden that his favourite birds usually carry, and allow them to maintain a higher airspeed velocity.

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Grahamd [829 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes
Valbrona wrote:

How long before he renovates his sheds where the swallows nest, and turns them into like a study or a games room for the kids?

My shed has Swallows nesting every year. They nest all along my fluorescent light. Bulb failed this year and I couldn't bring myself to upset them, so shed remained dark for a few months and DIY had to lapse for a while.

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mike the bike [996 posts] 3 months ago
9 likes

 

I love the idea that a non-cycling pond cleaner rides off into the sunset in pursuit of migrating swallows.  Great British eccentricity lives on and I hope things go well for him.

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fenix [867 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I remember springwatch or similar speaking to a woman who was following swan migration in a microlight. The swans were much faster than her and she took weeks longer than them. Nature rocks.

Bike v swallow - well there's only going to be one winner but good luck with his adventures.

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Jonathan Knight [27 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Someone has to say it: "What Is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"

Apparently about 25 mph.

 

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Miller [69 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Can't tell if this is a serious but Morocco wouldn't be far enough by a long way. British swallows over-winter in South Africa. 

Cardiff to Johannesburg is 13,560km overland according to Google Maps. The 'bicycle'option was greyed out.