ADVENTUROUS cyclists are in the middle of an 8,000km tour of Europe to raise awareness of mental health issues.

George Jones, of Maldon and Louis Blaxill, of Colchester, have already cycled 3,000km through the heart of the continent to raise money for The Mental Health Charity (Mind).

The duo set off from Essex on July 26, and have cycled across northern France, through Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic, reaching Slovenia last week.

Mr Jones and Mr Blaxill, both 23, graduated from university this year and wanted to take on a big challenge for a cause close to their hearts before starting out in the working world.

As of this week, they have already raised more than £2,700.

For Mr Jones, a member of the Blackwater Sailing Club, this was his first time doing long distance cycling.

He said: “We’ve been going for about five weeks now, and whilst this is my first long distance cycle, at 3,000km I can say that I definitely love it.

“It was a group effort, we knew we wanted to do it, so we bought a massive paper map of Europe, and our planning consisted of nights in the pub drawing out our route.

“Whilst we were at university lots of people we knew, students and staff, had problems with mental health issues. It’s really important for our age and for wider society and we thought it would be good to raise awareness and get people talking.

“We and Mind want to help break the taboo around mental health and raise money to help Mind help as many people as possible who are struggling with or suffering from mental illnesses.”

Mind has been working in the UK since 1946 to provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

The pair will next be heading into Croatia, and will proceed along the Mediterranean coastline into Rome, Italy, before heading west along the coast of the south of France and Spain, finishing in the city of Seville in November, using Beds for Cyclists to find accommodation especially for long distance cyclists.

They have been posting regular updates and photos of their journey through their “Broke Bike Mountain” Instagram page.

Mr Jones has thanked all those who have already supported their cause and hope their efforts can inspire others to take on similar challenges.

He said: “We’ve had so many lovely, accommodating and welcoming people on our journey so far, who have provided so much help, support and kindness, it’s been really heartwarming and just makes you feel good about it all.

“We hope that this huge adventure and challenge will capture the imagination of the people following us and convince them to donate to our cause of raising money and awareness for Mind.”

Visit to follow their progress and to donate.

To learn more about Mind, click here.