Brighton to Barcelona

With only 138 days to go, it feels like the right time to introduce the Brighton to Barcelona team. We are a group of 20 cyclists plus our guide. We will set off on 16th June this year and cycle an average of 106km each day until reaching Barcelona on 2nd July in time to attend the World Parkinson Congress (WPC). During this time, we will each cycle over 1,600km through the UK, France and Spain and climb over 10,000m (more than the height of Everest). We will collectively spend 2,500 hours in the saddle and consume 1.5 million calories in doing so..

Image Source: Google Maps

The average age of the team is 59 years old. Nine of the team are living with Parkinson’s. Nearly half the team work in healthcare, with five doctors, four nurses and a physiotherapist! Most of the team members have never met each other so regular Zoom calls and WhatsApp chats are keeping everyone in touch with each other.

The team members who start their journey from outside the UK will have flown 90,000km to get to the starting point in Brighton. The group are training hard and are looking forward to the challenge with equal measures of excitement, enthusiasm and trepidation!

Drawn by Jonny Acheson (

Team Members

Steve Wesson UK

I’m Steve Wesson and I am a Tour Leader for Bike Adventures (, a UK-based company providing cycling holidays, challenges and adventures throughout Europe and around the world. As soon as I heard that Bike Adventures has been selected to support this adventure I knew I had to be involved and I am delighted to be leading the group.  

After a reasonably successful but unexciting career in Information Technology, I took early retirement in order to exercise my passion for long-distance cycling. As well as undertaking several personal trips each year I also involve myself in a small number of group cycling adventures as organiser and/or leader. I have designed, planned and led over 100 trips on 3 continents of up to 10 weeks duration and with groups of up to 60 riders.

Alison Anderson (UK)

I’m Alison and I’m responsible for bringing this wonderful group of adventurers together. Since my diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2015, I have organised and completed a number of cycle challenges and am delighted that some of my old teammates as well as many new ones are joining me for this challenge. I attended the last World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto and was thrilled to be chosen as an Ambassador for this year’s congress in Barcelona. It was at the WPC in Kyoto that I met Rune Vethe and Geoff Constable both of whom I’m delighted are joining me in taking on this challenge.

John Anderson (UK)

Hi, I am Alison’s husband and biggest fan. My love for cycling has developed and evolved with each of Alison’s cycling challenges. These events have provided me with some of my best life experiences and enabled me to develop some great friendships. I relish the physical challenge and remain in awe of you all. Looking forward to getting to know you all a little better.

Rune Vethe (Norway)

Hi, I’m Rune Vethe. I live in Sandefjord, Norway. I was diagnosed in 2009 and had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery in March 2020. My first World Parkinson Congress was in Portland in 2016. I served as an Ambassador for the WPC in Kyoto 2019. For the Congress in Barcelona I take part in the Parkinson Advocate Committee and a Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease Programming Committee. The Congress is going to be outstanding! I like to exercise; cycling, table tennis and I am doing Rock Steady Boxing three times a week as a coach and fighter. I have cycled one day tours of long distances, however not 16 days in a row. In autumn and winter I like to cycle on Zwift.

This is a great challenge and I’m very happy to have three fellow Norwegian PD friends joining, and also my brother.

Jon Bjarte Vethe (Norway)

Hi, I’m Jon Bjarte Vethe 54, brother of Rune Vethe. I live in Trondheim Norway. I try to be a companion to my brother and others. I like to exercise but have never been close to a challenge like this, one day tours of long distance is what I have done previously.

Rune Bjerke (Norway)

Hi, I’m Rune Bjerke. This picture was taken the summer before my diagnosis in autumn 2016. I am still working, although part time. Invited by Rune Vethe (thanks), I was tempted by this as a big challenge. I am stepping up a lot on my bicycling hours per week and have become very fond of Zwift! I have cycled many long day trips (and maybe 6-7 high intensity races), but these races were some years ago and never longer trips or several days in a row. I am very much looking forward to getting to know the international Parkinson’s society better as I am joining the World Parkinson Congress for the first time.

Gary Shaughnessy (UK)

I’m Gary. I live near Newbury and love getting out and training on the countryside routes nearby. I’m convinced that exercise makes a big difference for me and I’ve been inspired by many of the people I’ve met along the way. That’s led me to taking on bigger and bigger challenges each year. I’m more of a runner than a cyclist, though, but I have joined in on some great cycles recently and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and heading to Barcelona.

Paula Millard (UK)

Hello! I’m Paula. I live in Nailsworth, a small Cotswold town in Gloucestershire. I have completed a few of Alison’s cycling challenges and have loved every single one. As a Mum of 5 (4 teenagers and a 12 year old), I have always used these challenges as a chance to reflect and strangely, to recharge. I find it fascinating the power of exercise on the mind as well as the power of the mind over exercise. I’m really looking forward to this next challenge and to meeting everyone.

Julia Woods (UK)

Hi, I’m Julia, l live in Chalford, a small village not far from Cheltenham, England. I love a challenge, my most recent one being a little working cocker spaniel puppy called Rosie, I blame her for my lack of cycling lately. Prior to Rosie I enjoyed fun rides and long distance rides, joining Alison on her epic ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m pleased to have a challenge to get me back on my bike and look forward to meeting everyone.

Denise Lawrence (Canada)

Hi. I am Denise. I’m 61 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2020. Cycling has been mostly a thing I do while travelling abroad (eg: Croatia, southern Italy). Since I retired (2021) I’ve joined a local club here in Calgary, Canada called the “Old Spokes”. We cycle about 60 km once or twice a week. This challenge will motivate me to keep training over the winter months. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

Jim Lawrence (Canada)

I’m Jim and I am Denise’s husband. I prefer my riding on horseback but I am looking forward to the challenge of this ride.

Caroline & Paul Broekman (UK)

Hi, we are Caroline and Paul from Cheltenham and we are excited to be joining this group for what will undoubtedly be another great cycling trip. Having cycled with Alison previously we can say for sure it will be a challenge but there will be a lot of fun on the way. We look forward to meeting everyone.

Julian McCarthy (UK)

Hi..I am Julian and I live in Winchester UK. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017. I’ve completed loads of long distance cycle rides including laden touring and triathlons but slowing down fast! Cycling a great boost for my Parkinson’s and I’m looking forward to this challenge.

Kathy & Dave Tempest (USA)

We are Kathy and Dave. We are in our early 70’s and have been bike touring self-contained for the last 17 years. Our first adventure, by chance, happened to be a bicycle tour. It was such a great experience that we became more serious tourers and have taken trips each fall except when new total knee replacements, family weddings or pandemics intervened. In 2018 we met Julian McCarthy and two other friendly Brits on the first day of our 5.5 month/8200 mile ride around the United States. Together we traveled across the Southern US from California to Florida. We  have remained friends. We are both retired physicians with an interest but not specific expertise in Parkinson’s Disease.

Erik Hågensen (Norway)

My name is Erik. I live with my wife Eeva, in Tjøme, 125 km south-west of Oslo, Norway. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. Like my fellow Norwegians, Rune & Rune, I haven’t done race or tour cycling which involves many days in a row. However, I’m optimistic that this can be overcome with the right training. My weekly exercise is very much focused around Rock Steady Boxing and cycling including Zwift. It’s not a coincidence that my workouts looks similar to Rune Vethe’s. Rune is an inspiration to those of us with less experience and energy. I happen to live in the district as him.

Sam O’Connor (Australia)

G’Day, I’m Sam from Brisbane, Australia. I met Alison in 2014 when my family and I moved to Cheltenham for me to work with John (Alison’s husband). At the time my wife was pregnant with our third child and we had two young boys aged 3 and 4. An international move was a huge ordeal, and Alison was so helpful and kind in this process and whilst we settled into Cheltenham.  We have never forgotten the Anderson’s support during this time. It’ll be fantastic to reconnect with John and Alison on the ride. I also helped care for my grandmother who lived with Parkinson’s for 20 years. I am a commuter / social cyclist so have a bit of work to do in order to be bike-fit for the ride. However, I love a fitness challenge and I really, really love Europe so this combination is a dream-come-true!  I’m looking forward to meeting and cycling with an inspirational group of people who can help draft me through the European countryside.

Roland Valori (UK)

I’m a hospital doctor who while not new to cycling have only done so regularly since the Cyclopaths’ trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2017 in aid of the Cure Parkinson’s Charity. Since then, I have ridden a few thousand miles every year and only fallen off my bike a few times, with major embarrassment but only minor injuries. I am very decisive in my professional capacity and when ordering beer, but tend to dither when making decisions about big cycling trips, like this one to Barcelona.  On the face of it I seem very serious, but that is just a front, so don’t be fooled.

Geoff Constable (Australia)

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008, but living with significant mis-diagnosed symptoms for over 10 years prior to this. Started going to a gym soon after, to loose some weight and discovered that cycling relieved leg rigidity and joint pain. Sitting on a stationary bike is damn boring, so needed to find a bike that would compensate for my balance issues. I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 30 years. So started with a FAT bike and cycling 10klm 3 times a week and kept adding extra kilometres. Within 6 months had progressed to a road bike and cycling 400 to 450klm’s a week, using charity cycling events to keep me motivated. Looking forward to the Bike to Barcelona challenge, a once in a life time ride and both very excited and bloody nervous!!

1 thought on “Brighton to Barcelona”

  1. An awesome team! Good luck with training and planning for another amazing adventure 🚴🏼‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️🙌🏼 x


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