VIDEO: Duo set for mammoth bike ride to India

From Hookstone Drive to India by bike- the epic idea is beyond imaginable for many.

But the 6,000-mile trip is exactly what ambitious Tom Cartledge and Rhys James will attempt when they set off this morning. The continental trek is a bid to raise £10,000 to be split between St Michael’s Hospice and The Railway Children.

19/2/13    Tom Cartledge (left) and Rhys James  from Harrogate  prepare for their Harrogate to India charitty cycle ride .

19/2/13 Tom Cartledge (left) and Rhys James from Harrogate prepare for their Harrogate to India charitty cycle ride .

Along the way, Tom and Rhys will take part in charity projects and film interviews for their website, ‘couchsurfing’ through at least ten countries.

Former St Aidan’s student Tom, 24, explained why they decided to take on the challenge: “Travel is one of those things where you seem to just get off a plane and see every tourist destination,” he said.

“Cycling everywhere and couchsurfing means you get a feel for the country, so it is a great way to do it.

“We sat down and realised we had the opportunity to do this. We want to help St Michael’s, which is very close to my family. I felt there was something I could give back.

“The Railway Children is known internationally, so our foreign friends along the way will be able to help us raise money as well.”

Former Harrogate Grammar School pupil Rhys, 29, was keen to support the Railway Children cause.

Tom said: “Rhys feels passionate about it, he has done research into the Railway Children, it helps kids in England, India, everywhere.

“We are asking people to donate to give kids and older people hope.”

He added: “We are more than happy for people to join us for a leg of the journey.

“Along the way we want to meet up with homeless kids projects.”

The cyclists will catch a ferry to Holland before crossing Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

From there, they will get another ferry to Kazakhstan, before the route turns tricky, as they chase through countries such as Kyrgystan and Tajikstan on the way to India.

Tom said: “There could be difficulties getting to New Delhi at the end of the route, we will have to keep an eye on the atmosphere.”

The pair hope to secure sponsorship from North Yorkshire companies, and believe they are fit to finish the cycle.

Tom said: “We haven’t given ourselves a specific time to get there, but we are looking to cover 600 miles a month.

“We are organising fundraisers along the route, to get people to tell their friends, and do what they can to help out.”

This Sunday, Monteys Rock Cafe in Harrogate will host a fundraising music night from 6pm.

The Harrogate Advertiser series will be following the pair as they embark on their epic challenge. We will be updating readers on progress in the paper and on Twitter, follow @HarrogateHound.

You can follow the pair directly @SaddleSore2013 and on the website

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