Brian Mildenhall from Taw Hill is back from his ‘cycle in the clouds,’ and is giving a talk about his experiences on Friday 6 December, 7.30pm, at the United Reformed Chapel in Highworth.
A keen supporter of Angel’s Orphanage in Nepal, recreational cyclist Brian decided to put his legs and lungs to the test by cycling 600 miles from Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal to raise money for the 21 children cared for there.
Explaining his preparation Brian said: “I’ve only been cycling for about five years. I don’t do races and I’m not a member of a club; I just cycle for enjoyment. Normally I go on 30 to 50 mile rides but to test myself I cycled up Alpe D’Huez in France.”
In just 12 days in September Brian peddled the 1,011 kilometres along the Friendship Highway from Tibet to Nepal, climbing 31,416 feet and descending 39,606.
The journey took him along high mountain passes, battered at times by wind and hail, surrounded by stunning scenery and permanent snow, until he eventually saw Mount Everest.
Commenting on the experience Brian said: “It was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. Above 15,000 feet it was so hard to breathe and cycle at the same time.
“Our first sight of Everest was a revelation. Low clouds totally obscured it, but suddenly, cycling along a gravelly, potholed, rock-strewn track we turned the corner and there it was, filling our entire view and dominating everything around. Soon we were sitting on a pile of rocks drinking a well-earned bottle of beer, just looking at the mountain, without a thought for how cold it was.”
Brian also saw scenes of traditional harvesting, nomads and shepherds tending their goats, as well as glacial-fed lakes and mountain pass prayer flags. Reflecting on the trip he said: “It was an amazing experience and we raised £2,958, which will feed the children at the orphanage for nearly five months.”
Brian will share the story of his journey and some breath-taking views of Tibet, Mount Everest and Nepal at the United Reformed Chapel which is on the High Street, Highworth. Admission is by donation.
Or help him at www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/tibettobike
• Friends of Angel’s Orphanage was founded by Rosa and Ian Matheson from Highworth. See details at: www.angelsorphanage.com