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Three Cycle 2000 Mile Trip to Yugoslavia

From a local newspaper August 1962

Roger Caves

Three 17-year-old Lewes County Grammar School Boys arrived back in England on Sunday after an adventurous 2000 mile cycle ride through nine countries in six weeks with 12 punctures.

Roger, Richard and David 1962 Although their parents were a little apprehensive at first, the three - David Shepherd of Pellbrook Road, Lewes; Roger Caves of Phyllis Avenue, Peacehaven; and Richard Gregory of Norman Road, Newhaven - left Lewes on July 23 to cycle to Yugoslavia. At Dover the boys boarded the night ferry for Ostend to begin a cycle ride they will never forget. Camping at night under canvas and cycling by day they made their way across Belgium into Northern France , back into Belgium and on into Luxemburg.

From Luxemburg their journey took them through the industrial areas of Saarbrucken, Germany to Karlsruhe and down to Memmingen in Southern Germany. Austria was the next country visited and to get there they went through the Fern Pass, 3970 feet high. "We did quite a bit of walking that day, " commented David to our reporter.

"Italy, the land of sunshine and garlic [sic], was beautiful but the people there were not very helpful," said David. From there they made their way via the Brenner Pass into Austria and then to Yugoslavia. It had taken fifteen days to reach their destination. "The first couple of days we spent recovering in Bled," said David, who added that the people were helpful.

Postojna Caves Postojna Caves The object of the trip, which was suggested by their geography teacher, was to study the various caves in northern Yugoslavia and the boys kept logs of the particular types of rock formation seen. While in the country the three lads visited five major caves including the Postojna Grottoes. "It's the third largest cave in the world and they claim it is the most beautiful," David explained.

The route back to England was longer and they had less time in which to travel but after 10 days in Yugoslavia they set off, passing through Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland and Belgium to board the ferry back to Dover.

What were the main impressions the boys had of Yugoslavia? "They haven't heard of roads there," commented David. "There are only a couple of main roads and apart from that they have dirt tracks." Food was cheap but apart from tourists there were few cars. Considering the length of their trip and the different country they encountered their journey was incident free.

While camping on an official camping site in Austria they experienced a terrific hailstorm. Roger stuck his hand out of the tent and had it cut by a falling hailstone. David broke his toe while in Germany. "The road was so bad we were cycling on the footpath," explained David. "Some chap started kicking up a fuss on the other side of the road. We looked the other way and I went into a post."

1966 1995

Any romance? "The girls were pretty, but we did not get to know any of them - unfortunately," commented David. Will the three boys ever repeat their outstanding journey? "I don't think any of us would go again on bicycles," said David.

Left: At David's Wedding to Mary - October 1966.

Right: The First 'Bicycle Boys' reunion - 1995.

Our 'Bicycle Boys' are still at it !

2012 David, Richard and Roger with their respective wives, Mary, Margaret and Carole met recently for the annual commemoration of their 1962 cycling trip to Yugoslavia. This year marked the 50th. anniversary of the 1962 expedition, a journey suggested to them by their geography teacher, Mr Page. The venue this year was Littlecote House, near Hungerford and once again the boys set off on their bicycles, only this time it was 2 miles to a local hostelry rather than the 2000 miles to a distant land! All had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and they look forward to continuing the tradition for many years to come.