Cycling from Poland to Pompey is no problem for Havant and Waterlooville pensioners

Pete Scott, left, and Roger Cooper who rode from Poland to Portsmouth over 31 days to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151673-4)
Pete Scott, left, and Roger Cooper who rode from Poland to Portsmouth over 31 days to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151673-4)

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  • Roger Cooper wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s research in memory of his father
  • He roped his friend Pete Scott into a 2,000km cycle ride from Poland, where Dr Alzheimer died
  • They had a wonderful adventure
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With a combined age of 133, you would be forgiven for thinking friends Roger Cooper and Pete Scott would be taking it easy.

But the grandfathers have, in fact, just completed an epic cycle challenge of more than 2,000km – more than 1,240 miles – in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

It was good as gold. I’d love to do it again – but as long as Roger does the organising

Pete Scott

With only their bikes, and tents strapped to their saddles, they spent 31 days riding from Poland to Portsmouth.

Roger, 67, who describes himself and his cycle buddy as ‘daft old pensioners’ says: ‘It was a lot for me and Pete to undertake, but it was for Alzheimer’s so it’s probably an investment for our future!

‘It was in memory of my father, George, who died last year aged 93.

‘It was really hard to see him go down and down.

‘That is the problem with the disease. You just watch the person you love disappear, which is not very nice.’

Roger, of Camelia Close, Havant, pictured with his father, right, is used to mammoth bike rides.

Last year he cycled from Vienna, where he scattered his father’s ashes, back to the UK – a total of 893 miles (1,437km).

And this year he roped in his old friend Pete.

He says: ‘We’re not that young but because I’ve done it before I knew what to expect.

‘Pete’s training consisted of going down the local shops on his bike and back.

‘But because he’s a builder he’s as fit as a fiddle. He’s up and down ladders all day.

‘Once we got into a routine it was fine and we had some real adventures.’

Roger says the best thing was the reaction they had from people they met along the way.

‘We were outside Checkpoint Charlie, in Berlin, when a lady started nattering away to us about our Alzheimer’s T shirts.

‘After about 30 minutes she gave us £50. We didn’t know her from Adam.

‘What a lovely lady.

‘It’s little things like that that make you think the world isn’t such a bad place after all.’

Peter, a grandfather from Hawkewood Avenue, Waterlooville, had the time of his life.

He says: ‘It was good as gold. I’d love to do it again – but as long as Roger does the organising.

‘I’ve never done anything like it before. I had one training ride and other than that it was cycling to the supermarket.

‘Cycling up and down hills all day was hard going.

‘And there was one day when I was ill but didn’t tell Roger.

‘I was a bit slower because I was absolutely worn out.

‘At the end of the day we had a bit of an argument.

‘When we got back to the hotel I told him and he felt so sorry for me, the next day he cycled four miles to the chemist for some tablets!’

Despite aiming for 1,915km to mark the year of Dr Alzheimer’s death they ended up doing more than 2,000km because of a few wrong turns.

Roger says: ‘We didn’t mind. But what we did mind was waking up in our tents when it was 3C and frosty.

‘And there was one particular day of constant hills, rising up to nearly 700m. But we loved every minute of it, particularly the scenery. It was a great adventure.’

REMEMBERING DR ALZHEIMER

Roger and Pete’s journey marked the centenary of the death of Dr Alois Alzheimer, the psychiatrist who discovered Alzheimer’s disease.

It was identified an ‘unusual disease of the cerebral cortex’ which differed from dementia seen before because it caused memory loss, disorientation, hallucinations and ultimately death.

The Poland to Pompey cycle ride began in Wroclaw, Poland, where Dr Alzheimer died.

They went on to Berlin, Würzburg, Dr Alzheimer’s birthplace, Marktbreit, Aschaffenburg and Frankfurt.

From there they set off back to the UK across France to Caen and home to Portsmouth in a free cabin from Brittany Ferries. Pete says: ‘We kept everyone updated on Facebook and Twitter which was a godsend in the evenings when there was nothing to do. Their messages of support really kept us going’.

The aim is to raise at least £1,915. To donate go to justgiving.com/teams/MOPIL. Follow them on Twitter at @PolandToPompey and on Facebook.